french film

The Innocents & Things to Come

April 29, 2017
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There’s no category in contemporary cinema more demeaning than the ‘chick flick’. It suggests a sloppy romance of the Barbara Cartland variety, or a superficial, feel-good movie with a ‘girl power’ theme. Either way the term eliminates one half of the human race as a willing audience, and patronises the other. This week two very … More

Folies Bergère

December 13, 2014
Isabelle Huppert in 'Folies Bergères' (2014)

Isabelle Huppert has the rare ability to conjure up a character while remaining almost completely impassive. Some actors undergo an expressive transformation from one role to the next, but Huppert’s style is that of a minimalist. The straight face gives an impression of hidden depths, and this may be why – although far from conventionally … More

Alliance Francaise French Film Festival 2013

March 9, 2013
Thérèse Desqueyroux, Directed by Claude Miller

“Gwynplaine we are made for each other. The monster you are outside, I am inside.” Where do you get to hear – or at least read – lines like that? Only at the 24th Alliance Francaise French Film Festival, or until a featured item gets an Australian release. From an exceptionally strong program last year … More

Paris-Manhattan & Quartet

December 22, 2012
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“Heartwarming” must be the most overused word in the film critic’s lexicon. It suggests we enter the cinema as  cold-hearted types and are transformed by the power of a movie. When the lights go back on we are more sensitive, more optimistic; we believe in the essential goodness of human beings and the necessity of … More

You Will be My Son

November 10, 2012
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Blood may be thicker than water but it runs a distant second to fine wines. At least that seems to be the way, vigneron, Paul De Merseul, views the world. Paul, played by veteran actor, Niels Arestrup, is the stern patriarch in Gilles Legrand’s You Will be My Son, a taut, lean story of tensions … More

The Intouchables

October 27, 2012
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Although it should be the most depressing subject in the world there is something strangely inspiring about films that deal with disability. The Miracle Worker (1962) was a smash hit in its day, making Helen Keller into the most famous deaf and blind person in history, although she has since been overtaken by several cricket … More

Holy Motors

August 25, 2012
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It has been an excellent year for French cinema, but Holy Motors brings back memories of the brittle, self-consciously ‘poetic’ malaise that has infected so many gallic directors of the past. How alarming for all red-blooded Aussies that Our Kylie should be embedded in this piece of Parisian pastry. Kylie Minogue’s appearance comes at the … More

And If We All Lived Together?

July 28, 2012
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Having watched two films about old age over the past month, I’m beginning to wonder if this is the start of a trend: perhaps a reaction to all those movies about comic book heroes. In these geriatric sagas there are no super powers on display – it’s enough if characters can keep their faculties intact … More


June 30, 2012
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It’s sheer coincidence that both this week’s films are by female directors with French connections who play a role in their respective features. The difference is that Polisse, by Maïwenn, has all the drama, the humour and the acting that one misses in Where Do We Go Now? While the latter has a story that … More

The Chef

June 16, 2012
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With a film about food and cookery, a director can hardly fail. Whatever the deficiences of the script, the acting or camerawork, the subject has such an intrinsic attraction an audience will keep watching just to see the next dish. Daniel Cohen’s The Chef is better than that – a slick French farce as predictable … More