Amour (Love)

Amour screened as the opening film of the 2012 Irish Film Institute’s French Film Festival. Read our preview of the festival here and visit the official site at ifi.ie/FrenchFest for screening and ticketing info.

Dying with dignity – ★★★★★

Austrian director Michael Haneke’s latest film Amour tells the story of Anne and Georges (character name staples in his work being used in Caché and Funny Games amongst others), a couple of retired music teachers living comfortably in their Paris apartment. Their married life change irrevocably when she suffers a stroke and he takes on the role of carer.

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French kisses & misses

Wednesday night sees the return of the Irish Film Institute’s French Film Festival, which will see the Temple Bar cinema become a hub of Gallic culture for twelve days. We’re prone to a spot of subtitled action here at Spooool and so have taken a few minutes to put together four picks and one miss for the fest.

Check out the official site here or click here to download a PDF copy of the programme. Read More

Rust and Bone (De rouille et d’os)

Whales and fighting and other weird things – ★★★½

Rust and Bone is the latest offering from A Prophet director Jacques Audiard and deals with amongst other things – performing killer whales, bare-knuckle street fighting, worker surveillance practices, France’s custody and welfare policies and the emotional and physical issues encountered when you lose both legs. Crikey.

Everyone’s favourite mumbling soft-spoken Frenchie Marion Cotillard plays Stéphanie, an Antibes-based whale trainer who loses both legs in a tragic accident. She encounters Ali (Matthias Schoenaerts) a drifting 25-year-old boxer who arrives in town to get his sister to help look after his young son while he searches for work. Their union is an unlikely one, but thanks to terrific performances from both leads we buy into the idea quite quickly with each of them giving the other what he or she needs most in life – Stéphanie to feel wanted and not treated like a cripple, with Ali looking for stability and structure.

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Holy Motors

Blessed are the open-minded - ★★★★½

The 1949 Ealing comedy Kind Hearts and Coronets starred the fantastic Alec Guinness playing nine characters and with Holy Motors Denis Lavant goes that little bit further by playing 11. It’s also a damn sight more abstract.

Lavant is the star. It is staggering how many times he must morph into a new incarnation, each so diametrical opposed to the previous. Whether it is beggar, banker, monster, father, accordionist, killer or lover, he inhabits each role with such conviction and emotion we can’t help but disappear with him into his new reality. Why all the roles? He starts his day saying goodbye to his family and is driven around in a white limousine by Celine (Edith Scob) who presents him with different appointments (9 in total), which he must carry out over the rest of the day.

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Elles

Sex please - ★★

Men take note – you are all sexist pigs addicted to pornography simply seeing women as whores. Or at least that’s according to Malgorzata Szumowska’s new film Elles.

Juliette Binoche is Anne, a journalist who is writing a piece about student prostitutes for the French magazine “Elle”. The film takes place over one day as Binoche puts together the article, with her interviews with the two students Charlotte (Anais Demoustier) and Alicja (Joanna Kulig) recounted by a series of flashbacks. Charlotte comes from a working class background and is striving to cast off the stench of her humble beginnings. Alicja is a Polish student studying in France and has turned to prostitution as a result of not being able to find anywhere to live.

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Ooh aah Cantona!

| o | - Switch hits UK cinemas 30th March 2012 and is available on DVD & Blu-ray 3 days later on Monday 2nd April.

Why aren’t more people talking about Eric Cantona’s new film Switch? Just read this amazing plot summary!  Read More