A Winter’s Tale is the second installment in French director Eric Rohmer’s Tale of Four Seasons series. Rohmer’s intention with these films is to “focus on attractive, intelligent, self-absorbed if not entirely self-aware young women who present their dilemmas with clarity and elegance and express their feelings in inspired and witty dialogue.”
Plot: Felicie and Charles have a serious if whirlwind holiday romance. Due to a mix-up on addresses they lose contact, and five years later at Christmas-time Felicie is living with her mother in a cold Paris with a daughter as a reminder of that long-ago summer. For male companionship she oscillates between hairdresser Maxence and the intellectual Loic, but seems unable to commit to either as the memory of Charles and what might have been hangs over everything.
One of those unsentimental films to which people become sentimentally attached.
Plot: The widowed Magali may be charismatic and intelligent but her friends fear that by isolating herself she will never find a new love. Therefore, two of them secretly attempt to set her up with an eligible bachelor, but as no one is aware of the various machinations they appear doomed to end in ignominious calamity.
AMG: Gallic actress-turned-director Josiane Balasko – a Euro cinema mainstay best known for her unconventional romantic lead in Bertrand Blier’s 1989 Trop belle pour toi – helms and co-stars in Cliente, a quirky and offbeat look at the bittersweet life of a male prostitute, which Balasko co-adapted from her 2005 novel with screenwriter Franck Lee Joseph. Eric Caravaca stars as Marco, a French hustler in his mid-30s whose path criss-crosses with that of infomercial actress Judith (Nathalie Baye) in a local park. A nascent divorcee, she’s in the mood for a quick fling, and follows suit with Marco, but this infuriates her sister, Irene (Balasko). Both sexual partners intend to enjoy the liaison as a one-time engagement; for better or worse, it soon repeats itself on multiple occasions and evolves into a deep-seated and very sticky relationship with lots of emotional strings. Significantly, this makes matters very complex and messy for Marco, who happens to be married to hairdresser Fanny (Isabelle Carre) and shares a residence with her, her mother (Catherine Hiegel) and her goth-decked sister (Marilou Berry, Balasko’s real-life daughter)). Fanny, it seems, harbors no knowledge of Marco’s real profession; when she discovers the truth, she systematically attempts to use her husband’s profession to her own selfish advantages in lieu of objecting passionately or leaving him. Continue reading
Perhaps the film is more personal for Catherine Breillat. Is it a record of her working methods during this period? Her films have always dealt with sexuality and maybe the filmmaker was simply using the medium to express her own thoughts and experiences. I love that; a great deal of why I love the cinema is the auteur theory which states the director is the author of a film; that links in an artist’s work can be found from work to work. Breillat surely qualifies, and I can see how this film influenced her later work. For example, it seems to be a precursor or even a veiled prequel to Sex Is Comedy, an infinitely more insightful look at the filmmaking process and sexual manipulation, and there’s a series of shots showing 2 characters descending a spiral staircase that she would repeat 30 years later in Bluebeard. The problem with Nocturnal Uproar is that it isn’t insightful about the cinema, it isn’t insightful about relationships, and it isn’t even honest about sex. I don’t want to sound perverted but the sex scenes in this film almost all look fake, though it is obvious that actress Laffin is being touched between her legs. The film develops into a woman’s sexual obsession for a man who toys with her, someone who may or may not have alternate intentions with his amours. This is a great subject for a film but it is arrived at a little too late.
Rodgers and Hammerstein’s 1943 Broadway music’s 1943 Broadway musical was considered revolutionary for a multitude of reasons, not least of which were the play’s intricate integration of song and storyline, and the simplicity and austerity of its production design. The 1955 film version of Oklahoma! retains the songs (except for Lonely Room and It’s a Scandal!, which are usually cut from most stage presentations anyway) and the story, but the simplicity is sacrificed to the spectacle of Technicolor, Todd-AO, and Stereophonic Sound. The story can be boiled down to a single sentence: a girl must decide between the two suitors who want to take her to a social. In her movie debut, 19-year-old Shirley Jones plays Laurie, an Oklahoma farm gal who is courted by boisterous cowboy Curley (Gordon MacRae) and by menacing, obsessive farm hand Jud Frye (Rod Steiger). Fearing that Jud will do something terrible to Curley, Laurie accepts Jud’s invitation to the box social. But it’s Curley who rescues Laurie from Jud’s unwanted advances, and in so doing wins her hand. On the eve of their wedding, Laurie and Curley are menaced by the drunken Jud. Continue reading
As Frédérique lies dead on her kitchen table at the hands of Christophe, police try to piece together the events that led to the gruesome killing. Frédérique’s teenage daughter narrates the tragic tale of love gone wrong.
Review by Kevin Vu: Though it possesses the voice of a notorious auteur, “Perfect Love” is one of Catherine Breillat’s lesser works. Despite being her sixth feature, the film seems like an early and minor effort, containing recurring elements explored in more accomplished films (e.g. “Fat Girl” and “Romance”), not to mention the sex and flesh that marries her reputation with vulgarity and controversy. Although Breillat has since found alternative outlets for her provocation and feminine rage, such as costume drama and fairytale, she has always challenged the conventional notions of sex using facets of the human body and soul that she strips bare – figuratively and literally. The plot here is not a matter of boy meets girl, and it never is for Breillat as she continues to reveal human depravity through sexuality. Continue reading
Peck is a New York sportswriter who’s on the West Coast on assignment, doing a story about a horse race. He wakes up from a drinking binge during which he had met New York fashion designer Bacall, though he doesn’t recall it. While he struggles to recover from his hangover, she relates the events of the previous evening which included filling his latest story. He notices how beautiful she is, and they begin a brief torrid affair which leads to a hasty marriage. Of course, each is a “fish out of water” in the other’s world, which they begin to discover when they return to New York. Continue reading