Cézanne et moi [Cezanne and I] (2016)

Cézanne et moi
Director: Danièle Thompson
Writer: Danièle Thompson
Cast: Guillaume Canet, Guillaume Gallienne, Alice Pol, Déborah François, Pierre Yvon, Sabine Azéma, Gérard Meylan, Laurent Stocker, Isabelle Candelier
Seen on: 25.4.2021

Content Note: sexism, misogyny

Plot:
Émile Zola (Guillaume Canet) and Paul Cézanne (Guillaume Gallienne) have known each other since they were children. But as they grew older, they grew apart from each other. But now Cézanne has come to visit Zola and both are excited to see each other again. Once they get to talking, though, tensions between the two become obvious: Zola wrote a novel that draws on their life and Cézanne is unhappy with how he was portrayed in it. As both reflect on their relationship with each other, their lives and their women, it is unclear whether they can move past that tension and the very different way their lives developed.

Oh boy, Cézanne et moi was an absolutely boring movie. It moves slowly and spends most of its time dwelling on the sexism and misogyny those two men exhibit, while still wanting us to like them. That equation doesn’t work, nor does the film.

The film poster showing Émile Zola (Guillaume Canet) and Paul Cézanne (Guillaume Gallienne) walking through a landscape that looks like it was painted by Cézanne.
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L’état sauvage [Savage State] (2019)

L’état sauvage
Director: David Perrault
Writer: David Perrault
Cast: Alice Isaaz, Kevin Janssens, Déborah François, Bruno Todeschini, Constance Dollé, Armelle Abibou, Maryne Bertieaux, Kate Moran
Part of: SLASH Filmfestival
Seen on: 23.9.2020
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Plot:
Esther (Alice Isaaz) and her sisters Justine (Déborah François) and Abigaëlle (Maryne Bertieaux) live with their parents Madeleine (Constance Dollé) and Edmond (Bruno Todeschini) who came from France to find a new life in America. But now that the Civil War is looming, perhaps it would be better, safer for them to return to Paris. But they have to cross the continent first, a dangerous journey for which they hire Victor (Kevin Janssens) as protection and guide. They pack their things and are joined by their maid Layla (Armelle Abibou) for the trek. But soon Victor’s past starts catching up with them in the form of Bettie (Kate Moran), spelling more danger for all of them.

Savage State was announced as a feminist take on the Western genre and, well, it definitely is a Western, but everytime it tried for feminist, things became patently absurd. That it tries at all, though, is probably the only thing that sets it apart from other – and much better – films. I didn’t get anything from it.

The film poster showing Esther (Alice Isaaz) and her family on horses, riding through the desert.

[Slight SPOILERS]

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Populaire [Popular] (2012)

Populaire
Director: Régis Roinsard
Writer: Régis Roinsard, Daniel Presley, Romain Compingt
Cast: Déborah François, Romain Duris, Bérénice Bejo, Shaun Benson, Mélanie Bernier, Nicolas Bedos, Miou-Miou

Plot:
Rose (Déborah François) dreams of living the village she grew up in and becoming a secretary. When she applies for a job with Louis (Romain Duris), he is impressed by her ability to type quickly, despite using only two fingers. But it turns out that she’s pretty unsuited to work as a secretary otherwise. So Louis decides to train her for the typewriting championship. Having nowhere else to go, Rose moves in with him and they set to work.

Populaire gleefully traipses through pretty much every cliché the 50s have to offer in a strange mix of reverence and irony. It’s sweet and fun, but not awesomely great.

populaire

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