Category Archives: Foreign Language Film

The Trouble With You (En Liberte!) (2018) Film Review

Yvonne (Adele Haenel) discovers that her late husband, known as a heroic police officer is the idol not only to her and her son, but to their whole city, was corrupt. The man who he framed and was sent to prison, Antoine (Pio Marmai) is being released and while she is convinced by her son’s godfather, Louis (Damien Bonnard) that proving his innocence will destroy her son, she wants to make sure that Antoine is ok. And he is not – being locked up has changed him, and he is now a psychopath.

It’s got a lot going for it – absurd (and very dark) humour, some great action sequences, a good basic concept. But, as a whole, it doesn’t work. The reasons for doing things get lost, and it becomes just far too ridiculous. Still, the acting was pretty fantastic, and it was delightful to see Audrey Tatu in it as the wife of Antoine.

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Sink or Swim (Le Grand Bain) (2018) Film Review

Bertrand (Mathieu Amalric) is depressed, unable to go to work and his wife is finding it difficult to be understanding. Going for a swim, he sees a notice for a men’s synchronised swimming team and decides to give it a go. They are a bunch of middle-aged misfits – stuck in bad jobs, dealing with anger issues, not reaching the goals they wanted in life. They bond, and then they discover the European men’s synchronised swim team competition and decide to give it a go.

This film is kind of charming, but it drove me a bit nuts. I didn’t love the casual racism and homophobia throughout, and I felt like it was trying to cover far too many stories within the one film. There were moments that I really enjoyed, and I could even appreciate the ridiculous competition, but overall I just didn’t love it.

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Aurore (2017) Film Review

Aurore (Agnes Jaoui) has hit a point in her life where things need to change. Her new boss at the restaurant is arrogant and treats the staff poorly, and everything else is just too much. So, she takes things into her own hands.

Women of a certain age are often ignored, certainly they rarely get entire films about just life. This is one of those films that capture a particular time in a particular place, and it was good, but not great. It was fun and the characters were charming, but I walked out wondering what exactly the point of the whole thing was.

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Queen Margot (La reine Margot) (1994) Film Review

It’s France in 1572. The royal family is catholic, but the protestants are rising up. To try to broker peace, Princess Margot (Isabelle Adjani) is married to Henri de Navarre (Daniel Auteuil), but then thousands of protestants who’d come to Paris are massacred. This film covers that and then a series of events afterwards.

It’s quite beautiful, spectacular costumes. I got a little confused about who was who as there was a very large cast, mostly white men with brown hair who all looked pretty similar. It’s mostly an extremely good film, but with moments that are totally appalling which really ruined it. But it seems like this is a fabulous story, especially as a very brief bit of research has shown that there seem to have been a whole heap of rumours spread around about Margot and everything to do with her. This has to be a mini-series… well, there is a novel by Alexander Dumas, so that’s a good start. There doesn’t appear to be a series… yet.

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The Teacher (2016) MIFF Review

It’s Bratslava, Slovakia in the early 80s. The country is under Communist reign, and Maria Drazdechova is not just a teacher but the chairman of the local communist group. When it comes out that the students who get the best grades have parents who are helping provide Maria with goods and services, it is very hard for the head teacher to take action. But a meeting is called with the patents and all kinds of truths are revealed.

This seems to be a great comment on communism along the lines of Animal Farm – we see the corruption which is inevitable when humans are involved. I thought it was great – funny, interesting but ultimately concerning.

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Death in a Terminal (2016) MIFF Review

In 2015, in a bus terminal in Southern Israel, a horrible event happened. I don’t want to say more, because the film allows the story to unfold in a very unusual way. The filmmaker has interviewed people who were at the scene and then, using footage from the CCTV cameras on site, shows them during the event.

It’s fascinating and clever and horrifying. Just don’t read the blurb from MIFF, because it gives more information that necessary – had I read it before watching, it would have ruined the film for me.

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BPM (alternative title – 120 Beats Per Minute) (2017) MIFF Review

It’s Paris in the late eighties/early nineties. HIV and AIDS is prevalent and there are several activist groups fighting for the release of more effective drugs and treatment. Act Up Paris are a group who lead protests involving fake blood and chants trying to raise awareness and force action. This film follows these activists as they fight, protest, dance and fall in love.

It’s a tough film, but of course it is going to be with that content. It’s funny at times, but generally is very sensitive and a fabulous story. I would definitely recommend it, but would suggest planning your evening so you don’t pair this with another difficult film, because it had me going home quite emotional.

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