Plot: Marji (Gabrielle Lopes Benites) is precocious and rather wild girl. She grows up with her parents (Catherine Deneuve, Simon Abkarian) and her grandmother (Danielle Darrieux) in Tehran. Her family is political – a fact that has gotten her uncle Anoush (François Jerosme) into prison already. With the Islamic Revolution, things become even more difficult for them. Finally her parents decide to send Marji – now a teenager and called Marjane (Chiara Mastroianni) – to Austria for her own safety. But being an Iranian girl in Austria isn’t much easier than being one in Iran.
Persepolis has been on my radar for a while now, and I’m not sure why I never watched it until now (probably a case of me wanting to read the comic this is based on first, but I never did). Anyhow, I watched it now and it really was very good.
Eddy (Benoît Poelvoorde) was just released from prison and is now staying with his best friend Osman (Roschdy Zem) and Osman’s daughter Samira (Séli Gmach). It’s not easy for Eddy to find his footing. Osman is dead-set on staying on the straight and narrow, despite big financial worries: his wife (Nadine Labaki) is ill and the hospital bills are mounting up. And then Charlie Chaplin dies and is buried not far from them. As Eddy watches the international grief, he has an idea: what if they were to hold Chaplin’s body for ransom?
La rançon de la gloire has all the makings of a dark little comedy with its unbelievable story that is actually based on true events, but unfortunately it falls almost completely flat.
Omar (Omar Ben Sellem) is leaving for New York to present a film there together with his friend Chiara (Chiara Mastroianni). Before he leaves, though, his boyfriend Emmanuel (François Sagat) turns their good-bye into a rape. So Omar tells him to be gone before he returns after a week. While Omar meets Dustin (Dustin Segura-Suarez) in New York, Emmanuel moves from money-making attempts to random sex, not knowing what to do with himself.
I did not like this film. It had me cringing a couple of times and when it didn’t make me uncomfortable, it mostly bored me. There were some redeeming moments, but it really wasn’t enough to make the film worth it.
Augustine (Soko) is a maid in the late 19th century in Paris. When she suffers from a kind of epileptic episode one night, she heads to the hospital and is promptly kept there and diagnosed with hysteria. When Dr. Jean-Martin Charcot (Vincent Lindon) becomes aware of her case, he sees an opportunity to prove the effectiveness of his hysteria-treatment through hypnosis and so secure financial backing for his research.
Augustine was a really excellent movie, with a fantastic cast and an interesting story critically told. Plus, it looked really good. Definitely one of the highlights of the Viennale for me.
Nasser-Ali (Mathieu Amalric) is a violinist who recently lost his violin. Unfortunately he can’t manage to find a new one that satisfies him and so he descends into a deep depression and decides to die by refusing to eat. While he wastes away, he revisits important episodes in his life and imagines his kids’ futures. But maybe his depression has less to do with his violin and more with the woman he met on the street and who didn’t recognize him?
Poulet aux prunes is a visually stunning film – especially every time they mix it up with animated sequences – and has a nice sense of humor. But Nasser-Ali is such an asshole that I couldn’t really enjoy the film.
Martin’s (Mathieu Demy) estranged mother just died, so he travels from France to the USA, where she’s emigrated to years before, to take care of her affairs. Once there, his mother’s friend Linda (Geraldime Chaplin) tries to help him with getting everything in order. But Martin finds out about a Mexican immigrant his mother was close friends with and who she liked a lot. Generally lost in his life, he decides to travel to Mexico to find the (in the meantime deported) Lola (Salma Hayek) to tell her that his mother is dead.
The movie might have worked if it wasn’t for the idiotic script, the clichéd story, the annoying main character… basically, if all of it was Geraldine Chaplin being awesome. Unfortunately that isn’t the case and so the movie ends up being pretty boring.