Sacha Guitry – Le Roman d’un Tricheur AKA Confessions of a Cheat (1936)

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Synopsis
The story of the cheat begins and ends with personal misfortune. When he was a young boy, our hero was caught stealing money from the family shop. As a punishment, he was not allowed to join his family on their picnic. They ate mushrooms and died of food poisoning, he survived and was placed in the care of his unscrupulous aunt and uncle, who intended to rob him of his inheritance. Years later, our hero ends up as a croupier in a casino at Morocco. There, he is about to embark at what looks like being a very lucrative career – as a professional cheat. Continue reading

Jacques Rivette – Céline et Julie vont en bateau aka Celine and Julie Go Boating (1974)

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Quote:
Jacques Rivette continues with his improvisatory tactics, allowing lead players to invent quite freely and also collab on the script. He mixes a modernized takeoff on Alice in Wonderland and a period tale of Henry James for an over indulged, overlong film that has some gem-like moments but also repetitiveness and preciosity.

Film just does not have the sustaining humor and more irrepressible madcap inventiveness to stave off an arbitrary, intellectual heaviness.

One day a girl reading a book of magic in the park, Julie (Dominique Labourier), sees a spindly, overdressed girl scuttle by dropping things. She follows this comic figure, Celine, played with wit by Juliet Berto, loses her but finds her on her doorstep. Continue reading

Claude Chabrol – Les cousins (1959)

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In Les cousins, Claude Chabrol crafts a sly moral fable about a provincial boy who comes to live with his sophisticated bohemian cousin in Paris. Through these seeming opposites, Chabrol conjures a darkly comic character study that questions notions of good and evil, love and jealousy, and success in the modern world. A mirror image of Le beau Serge, Chabrol’s debut, Les cousins recasts that film’s stars, Jean-Claude Brialy and Gérard Blain, in startlingly reversed roles. This dagger-sharp drama won the Golden Bear at the Berlin Film Festival and was an important early entry in the French New Wave. (-Criterion) Continue reading

Jacques Doillon – Ponette (1996)

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An extremely captivating movie on how a little girl copes with her mother’s death. She withdraws from all the people around her, waiting for her mother to come back. She tries waiting, and when her mother still doesn’t appear, tries magic chants, praying to God, and then becoming a child of God, to have some power over Him. All to no avail. But then, when she is in despair, her mother does come back… Continue reading

Claire Denis – Beau Travail AKA Good Work (1999)

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Synopsis
This film focuses on ex-Foreign Legion officer, Galoup, as he recalls his once glorious life, leading troops in the Gulf of Djibouti. His existence there was happy, strict and regimented, but the arrival of a promising young recruit, Sentain, plants the seeds of jealousy in Galoup’s mind. He feels compelled to stop him from coming to the attention of the commandant who he admires, but who ignores him. Ultimately, his jealousy leads to the destruction of both Sentain and himself.
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Serge Gainsbourg – Je t’aime moi non plus AKA I Love You, I Don’t (1976)

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IMDB:
The petite waitress Johnny works and lives in a truck-stop, where she’s lonely and longs for love. She develops a crush on the garbage truck driver Krassky, although her sleazy boss Boris warns her that he’s gay. Maybe because of her boyish looks, Krassky likes her too. Both don’t notice the growing jealousy of Krassky’s boyfriend Padovan – until an escalation. Continue reading

Marcel L’Herbier – L’affaire du collier de la reine AKA Queen’s Necklace (1946)

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One of the most expensive French films of the immediate postwar years, L’Affaire du Collier de la Reine is primarily a vehicle for the formidable Vivian Romance. The star plays an aristocrat in the court of Louis XVI, who helps engineer a scheme to divest the Queen of her royal necklace. On the verge of success, the “heroine” is found out, and forced to submit to whipping and torture. Continue reading