french film

Declaration of War

June 2, 2012
Screen shot 2012-06-23 at 4.38.44 PM

Declaration of War may be the most peculiar, most polarising film of the year. A controversial choice for the opening night of the 2012 French Film Festival in Sydney, it divided the audience between those who felt touched and moved, and those who saw it as a monumental act of self-indulgence. As a general rule … More

Bel Ami

May 26, 2012
Screen shot 2012-06-19 at 3.54.31 PM

It probably requires a teenage girl to understand the attractions of Robert Pattinson, and here I’m deficient in empathy. Having missed out on all those romantic vampire flicks I must be lacking a crucial point of comparison, for on first impressions this young Adonis’s acting style consists of several variations on the theme of the … More


May 5, 2012
Screen shot 2012-06-09 at 4.48.02 PM

What a brilliant year it has been for French films. After The Artist rightly swept the board at the Academy Awards, the highlights have continued to arrive in unbroken succession. From the 45 features shown at year’s French Film Festival, an unprecedented number have enjoyed local theatrical releases. The list includes Romantics Anonymous, The Well-Digger’s … More

Le Havre

April 7, 2012
Screen shot 2012-05-02 at 12.04.55 AM

Some films are too good to be saddled with that paralysing epithet, “heart-warming”. One thinks of smiling, rosey-cheeked children, poor but honest parents, perhaps a loveable old codger, and a dog. Aki Kaurismaki’s Le Havre has the dog, it has the salt-of-the-earth characters, but it also has a vein of surreal humour that never allows … More

Goodbye, First Love

March 31, 2012
Screen shot 2012-05-01 at 11.44.53 PM

Goodbye First Love is one of those films that will polarise its audience in terms of personality. If you are a type A Alpha male, you will most probably find this tale of young love and lost innocence to be unbearably slow and insipid. If you are the sensitive type B, you may be charmed … More

French Film Festival

March 10, 2012
From 'Nobody Else But You'

Last year 130,000 people attended the Alliance Francaise French Film Festival, making it by far the most popular of all the international film events held annually in this country. To be fair, it is also the biggest. This year’s program features no fewer than 45 features, plus the usual round of celebrity visits and other … More

The Artist

February 18, 2012
Screen shot 2012-05-01 at 8.35.40 PM

Never have I felt more in tune with Bill Collins’s encomiums on the golden days of Hollywood than after seeing The Artist. In the week leading up to the Oscars one could say it’s been a pretty good year, but if there is one film that reminds us of just of why we go to … More

New Year’s Eve & The Women on the 6th Floor

December 28, 2011
Women On The Sixth Floor

A ‘star vehicle’ is a film in which the script and story are less important than the presence of a fashionable actor. As a vehicle, New Year’s Eve might be compared to a bus with no brakes, hauling a whole gaggle of celebrities towards a cliff. One expects these ‘feelgood’ films to feel bad, but … More

The Illusionist

August 26, 2011
The Illusionist

Jacques Tati, the legendary French comic, has always been a paradox. Many people find the antics of his famous creation, Monsieur Hulot, to be side-splittingly funny, but there are others, such as Yours Truly, who have never warmed to Tati’s brand of humour. The typical Tati gag will have M. Hulot opening and closing a … More

Special Treatment

July 21, 2011
Isabelle Huppert as the world's oldest schoolgirl

This may not be the first time that anyone has recognised a peculiar affinity between psychoanalysis and prostitution, but Jeanne Labrune’s Special Treatment, explores that echo with impressive subtlety. This is a quiet, evenly-paced film that looks initially as if it might be a comedy, but soon settles into a dramatic pattern that takes us … More