Un beau soleil intérieur [Let the Sun Shine In] (2017)

Un beau soleil intérieur
Director: Claire Denis
Writer: Christine Angot, Claire Denis
Based on: Roland Barthes‘s A Lover’s Discourse: Fragments
Cast: Juliette Binoche, Xavier Beauvois, Philippe Katerine, Josiane Balasko, Sandrine Dumas, Nicolas Duvauchelle, Alex DescasLaurent GrévillBruno PodalydèsPaul Blain, Valeria Bruni Tedeschi, Gérard Depardieu
Part of: Viennale
Seen on: 27.10.2017

Isabelle (Juliette Binoche) is a rather successful artist, but she’s less successful when it comes to love. She has an affair with the married Vincent (Xavier Beauvois), but that isn’t enough for her. So she goes on various dates and meets quite a few men. But none of it lasts and Isabelle keeps on searching.

I found Un beau soleil intérieur pretty disappointing. There wasn’t a single character I liked in the film – and yes, that includes Isabelle. That made the film rather trying to sit through.

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La tête en friche [My Afternoons with Margueritte] (2010)

La tête en friche
Director: Jean Becker
Writer: Jean Becker, Jean-Loup Dabadie
Based on: Marie-Sabine Roger’s book
Cast: Gérard Depardieu, Gisèle Casadesus, Sophie Guillemin

Germain (Gérard Depardieu) is in his mid-forties and barely literate. He lives in a trailer in his mother’s garden, gets by on irregular jobs, has a group of friends, some less kind than others and a girlfriend (Sophie Guillemin). He enjoys counting pigeons in the park which is where he meets Margueritte (Gisèle Casadesus), a rather lonely woman in her mid-90s. Against all odds, Margueritte and Germain become friends and Margueritte starts reading to Germain, opening his mind.

La tête en friche is a nice film, but it doesn’t quite reach the charm and intelligence of the book. But it’s short and sweet and it works for the most part.


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Life of Pi (2012)

Life of Pi
Director: Ang Lee
Writer: David Magee
Based on: Yann Martel’s book
Cast: Suraj Sharma, Irrfan Khan, Rafe Spall, Adil Hussain, Tabu, Gérard Depardieu

A writer (Rafe Spall) in search of a good story gets the hint that Pi (Irrfan Khan) has an interesting one to tell. So he asks for an interview and hears all about how Pi was shipwrecked and ended up alone on a lifeboat with a zebra, an orangutan and a tiger – Richard Parker. As if survival alone at sea wasn’t difficult enough. But with the shipwreck, Pi’s journey is only beginning.

I read the book a few years ago and I really didn’t like it. But Ang Lee was enough to draw me into the film anyway. And I am glad I went. Despite the movie’s constant attempts to force god down your throat. The movie was just that beautiful.


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Je préfère qu’on reste amis [Let’s Stay Just Friends] (2005)

Je préfère qu’on reste amis [there’s no official English translation. But it does mean “I want us to be just friends” or “let’s stay just friends”]
Director: Olivier Nakache, Eric Toledano
Writer: Olivier Nakache, Eric Toledano
Cast: Jean-Paul Rouve, Gérard Depardieu, Annie Girardot, Yves Jacques

Claude (Jean-Paul Rouve) is extremely shy and therefore also perpetually single. But his life changes drastically when he meets Serge (Gérard Depardieu) who crashed a wedding Claude was invited to. Serge crashes weddings regularly to pick up women. He also uses a dating service to meet even more women, run by Germain (Yves Jacques) – which is where he meets Claude again and decides to take him under his wing. Their new friendship has a deep effect on both of them.

Je préfère qu’on reste amis is the kind of film that you find in the special offer DVD box (or, in my case, my parents’ DVD shelf who found it in the special offer DVD box) and that it also pretty much where it belongs. It’s nice, but nothing more.

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Small World (2010)

Small World is Bruno Chiche‘s adaptation of Martin Suter‘s book, starring Gérard Depardieu, Alexandra Maria Lara, Françoise Fabian, Niels Arestrup, Nathalie Baye* and Yannick Renier.

Simone (Alexandra Maria Lara) just got married to Philippe (Yannick Renier), youngest member of a very rich family. When obviously senile Konrad (Gérard Depardieu) shows up, it is clear that he is somehow connected to the family – and Simone starts to show an interest in him. But matriarch Elvira (Françoise Fabian) seems worried about the childhood memories that keep bubbling up in Konrad.

Small World is a nice film, though at times it seems a little too clichéd. The cast is brilliant, especially Gérard Depardieu.

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Potiche [Trophy Wife] (2010)


Potiche is the newest film by François Ozon, based on a play by Pierre Barillet and Jean-Pierre Gredy and starring Catherine Deneuve, Gérard Depardieu, Fabrice Luchini and Jérémie Renier.

1977: Suzanne (Catherine Deneuve) is practically the definition of a trophy wife. Married to Robert (Fabrice Luchini), who owns an umbrella factory, she spends her days with the household, writing bad poetry and getting visits from her grown kids. But when the workers at the umbrella factory start striking, it’s Suzanne who has to step in for her choleric husband.

Potiche is an entertaining film with a good cast. Its feminist message is watered down quite a bit to make more room for comedy, but it nicely captured the feminist current of the time. Most of all, it’s light-hearted.

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L’instinct de mort (Mesrine: Part 1 – Death Instinct) (2008)

L’instinct de mort (Mesrine: Part 1 – Death Instinct) is part one (of two) of a biopic about Jacques Mesrine, directed by Jean-François Richet and starring Vincent Cassel, Cécile De France and Gérard Depardieu. L’instinct de mort follows Mesrine lives from the start of his criminal career to the showdown of events in Canada. [The second part starts there and continues to his death.]

Mesrine (Vincent Cassel) was a soldier in the Algerian war where he witnessed gruesome events, which might or might not have been a trigger for his following ruthlessness. Back in France, he started working for a small gangster boss (Gérard Depardieu). He did pretty much everything from robbing banks to murdering and beating people. After getting arrested, trying to lead a normal life and going back to his criminal ways, Mesrine got into trouble with another group of gangsters and eventually fled with his mistress Jeanne (Cécile de France), first to the US, then to Canada. In Canada he met Jean-Paul Mercier (Roy Dupuis) who was part of the Front de libération du Québec. After a failed kidnapping, all three of them got arrested and Mesrine was sentenced to ten years in prison. But he escaped, robbed banks and later tried to break out some other prisoners of the same prison but failed there.  Shortly before he returnes to France, the movie ends.

Mesrine was an interesting character and Vincent Cassel is an amazing cast. But the movie is definitely not for everyone – it’s pretty frank with its sex scenes in the first half and exceptionally brutal in the second half. No, that’s not true. It’s brutal throughout the whole movie. The cutting and the directing weren’t great, but it definitely made me want to see part two.


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What Just Happened?

Mathieu Kassovitz is one of my favourite directors (though he’s also a good actor). So, I had high hopes for Babylon A.D., even though Vin Diesel was the main actor. Plus Charlotte Rampling, Michelle Yeoh and Gérard Depardieu are a really strong cast.

I have to admit, the movie left me a bit confused. There were scenes, which were really cool, but mostly, it felt like they didn’t take their time. The introduction of the world was too short, things happened too quickly and everything just seemed so… hurried.

To defend my sweetie Kassovitz right away: He had some major issues with the production company and had to cut a lot of the movie and shoot scenes differently etc. Well, it was pretty noticeable. At least, I got the European version, which is about 10 minutes longer than the US American one.

There were many details that I liked a lot [the advertisements!] and the whole world seemed to be really well thought through. I haven’t read the book – Babylon Babies [French] by Maurice G. Dantec, but the film made me want to.

Unfortunately, they didn’t use Michelle Yeoh like they could have – in the action scenes, she gets to kick ass, but we hardly get to see it. Also, give me more Charlotte Rampling! And Gérard Depardieu!

I didn’t much like Aurora (Mélanie Thierry). She is pretty, but didn’t do anything else than look pretty and cry a bit. Even though she was physically the strongest, she was a really weak character.

Well, I think I can summarise it with saying that it was good material wasted, unfortunately.