Marvin ou la belle éducation [Reinventing Marvin] (2017)

Marvin ou la belle éducation
Director: Anne Fontaine
Writer: Pierre Trividic, Anne Fontaine
Based on: Édouard Louis‘ autobiographical novel En finir avec Eddy Bellegueule (translated as The End of Eddy)
Cast: Finnegan Oldfield, Grégory Gadebois, Vincent Macaigne, Catherine Salée, Jules Porier, Catherine Mouchet, Charles Berling, Isabelle Huppert
Part of: Viennale
Seen on: 29.10.2017
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Plot:
Marvin (Jules Porier) doesn’t have an easy childhood: always the target of homophobic abuse, he sticks out like a sore thumb in his neighborhood. It’s only in the theater class that he really finds relief. So as soon as he is grown (Finnegan Oldfield), he makes his way to the big city to follow his calling to the stage and to maybe make peace with his past.

Marvin, unfortunately, loses itself in clichés which left me at a distance to the characters and frustrated by the lengthy narration.

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Marie Curie [Marie Curie: The Courage of Knowledge] (2016)

Marie Curie
Director: Marie Noelle
Writer: Marie Noelle, Andrea Stoll
Cast: Karolina Gruszka, Arieh Worthalter, Charles Berling, Izabela Kuna, Malik Zidi, André Wilms, Daniel Olbrychski, Marie Denarnaud, Samuel Finzi, Piotr Glowacki, Jan Frycz, Sabin Tambrea
Seen on: 14.12.2016

Plot:
Marie Curie (Karolina Gruszka) is a researcher who is working on isolating radium together with her husband Pierre (Charles Berling). Things are going pretty well until Pierre dies in an accident. Suddenly Marie – who keeps working despite her grief – has to defend herself and her capability to do the job, with people around her doubting that she would be able to do anything without Pierre. With researcher Paul Langevin (Arieh Worthalter) at her side, she persists regardless. Even when their very relationship becomes cause to doubt Curie’s morality.

Marie Curie is an interesting take on an interesting woman. It does have a couple of lengths and I would have appreciated it if it hadn’t focused almost entirely on her relationships with men, but I definitely enjoyed it.

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Elle (2016)

Elle
Director: Paul Verhoeven
Writer: David Birke
Based on: Philippe Djian‘s novel Oh…
Cast: Isabelle HuppertLaurent LafitteAnne ConsignyCharles BerlingVirginie EfiraJudith MagreChristian Berkel
Part of: Viennale
Seen on: 27.10.2016

[CW: Rape]

Plot:
Michèle (Isabelle Huppert) is the head of a video game company. Successful, rich, happily divorced with two grown children, Michèle has a great life. But that is disrupted when an intruder brutally assaults and rapes her in her home. Afterwards Michèle struggles to get her life back under control, by alternatively pretending that nothing happened and buying various weapons. And it may very well be that this encounter with the rapist won’t be her last.

In the hands of another writer and director, Elle might have been a film that was smart about the difficult topic it approaches and that I would have actually liked. But I absolutely hated the film we got. SO MUCH HATE.

[SPOILERS]

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L’heure d’été [Summer Hours] (2008)

L’heure d’été
Director: Olivier Assayas
Writer: Olivier Assayas
Cast: Charles Berling, Juliette Binoche, Jérémie Renier, Edith Scob

Plot:
Hélène (Edith Scob) is celebrating her birthday with her kids Frédéric (Charles Berling), Adrienne (Juliette Binoche) and Jérémie (Jérémie Renier) and their respective families. Since Hélène knows that she’s getting older, thoughts of succession and heritage are not far from her mind. Especially since she has devoted her entire life to her uncle’s legacy who was a famous artist. Her kids would rather not talk about it though. It is only after Hélène’s death that they really start to come to terms with it.

Summer Hours was beautifully shot, very well acted, had wonderful art in it and I can appreciate it. But it was also way too long and so very boring and I just wanted things to happen every once in a while. I missed a plot.

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Demonlover (2002)

[Part of the Science Fiction special in the Vienna Filmmuseum.]

Demonlover is a movie by Olivier Assayas, starring Connie Nielsen, Charles Berling, Chloë Sevigny and Gina Gershon.

Plot:
The Wolf Corporation are planning their big entry into the anime porn market. Diane (Connie Nielsen), who works for Wolf, “insinuates” herself with quite hard measures into the negotiations. Together with her colleague Hervé (Charles Berling) she flies to Tokyo to close the deal. But we soon discover that Diane not only works for Wolf, she’s also on the payroll of a competitor. But in the world of corporate espionage, it’s never quite clear who works for whom.

The film starts out fine, but after the first half it slowly spins out of control and into meaninglessness. The film tries to be profound but ultimately confuses the audience too much to achieve much of anything. At least the cinematography and the production design were very nice.

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