Archive for Bertrand Tavernier

Checking boxes

Posted in FILM, Television with tags , , , , , on February 1, 2018 by dcairns

You know how I said I was really busy viewing film festival submissions and art school applications? Well, I have less of the latter to view this year, as it turns out, so that’s not so bad. The whole thing is still a KARMIC SEWER, though — with a few clicks, I sentence to death the dreams of young hopefuls, again and again. It’s not the most enjoyable sensation. And in the few instances where I can honestly give a wholeheartedly welcoming response, I have no way of knowing if it will bear fruit: someone further up the food chain may doom the applicant for their own reasons, or the talented applicant, having received a better offer, may take their skills elsewhere.

Still, I managed to watch the first two installments of Bertrand Tavernier’s TV series Voyage à Travers le Cinéma Français, which is ace, even better than Scorsese’s similar shows, and that gave me a clue as to what to watch for this fortnight’s edition of The Forgotten. It even gave me the key image (above). Now the piece is up and you can rush over and find out what film it is.

Here.

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Muckrakers

Posted in FILM with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on September 7, 2016 by dcairns

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I always had slight doubts about the authenticity of my South Korean DVD or Zulawski’s LA FIDELITE, but when I finally got around to playing it and the label promptly shredded off of disc 1, I began to think it might not be wholly legit. The muddy transfer and the odd ratio of 14:9 — not anyone’s standard frame, anywhere, since the sixties — seems to further suggest that I may have been sold a pup.

The film itself is fairly terrific, and I should invest in an upgrade. Zulawski’s partner, Sophie Marceau, with whom he had already made three films (which I still have to look forward to), stars in an adaptation/update of Madame La Fayette’s 1678 novel La Princesse de Cleves. I must admit I’d underrated her, having only seen her in Tavernier’s DARTAGNAN’S DAUGHTER and the Bond film THE WORLD IS NOT ENOUGH. Oh, and bloody BRAVEHEART. None of which are her best work, it seems. I hate BRAVEHEART, in which her main purpose, like that of most female leads in action films, is to alibi the lead’s heterosexuality (but see here for a problematizing fact-check at around 3:50). On D’ARTAGNAN’S DAUGHTER she was responsible for getting octogenarian maestro Riccardo Freda fired from his last chance of directing a film, which rather makes me despise her. Later, giving her opinion about the film, she said that there was too much about Philippe Noiret and the other musketeers and not enough about her. Needless to say, I found her cold-blooded bitch character in THE WORLD IS NOT ENOUGH quite convincing.

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But in fact, whatever she may be like in real life (and I have no actual way of knowing), she can be a tremendously sympathetic and intelligent and compelling presence onscreen, as LA FIDELITE shows — she humanizes the extremes of Zulawski’s cinema in a way no other actor I’ve seen can do. In fact it’s the husband character in the film (Pascale Greggory) who goes in for more of the director’s favoured mannerisms, flailing, spasming and twitching, though he does this less often and less frenetically than, say, the stars of POSSESSION. In fact, in many ways he has the feminine role, stuck in the role of “good spouse,” largely passive and pensive — he even writes a message on a mirror in eyeliner (it’s a lengthy quotation, so lipstick wouldn’t have worked).

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As so often with historical material dragged kicking and screaming into the modern age (the twenty-first century, just), there are some awkward plot hurdles where society today may not offer exact analogues for the source’s action. Here, Zulawski contrives a subplot about illegal organ-trading which doesn’t seem to even try for plausibility — a shot of bootleg eyeballs shows a fuming tray with eyes, complete with eyelids and dainty eyelashes — periodic bursts of John Woo-style slomo machine-gun action interrupt the relatively naturalistic moments of emotional turbulence with surprising frequency. Relocating the plot from the world of aristocrats to the world of a modern press tycoon works neatly, though, and the film does remind you how detestable the tabloid press is. Hilariously, the saturnine tycoon is called Rupert Mac Roi.

Marceau emotes movingly, and indulges in vigorous sex scenes with Greggory while yearning for loutish-yet-sensitive Guillaume Canet. She’s also convincing as a photographer and artist. Edith Scob blows a raspberry. She didn’t do that in EYES WITHOUT A FACE — her mask would have blasted off.

The Sunday Intertitle: A New Thrill

Posted in FILM, Politics with tags , , , on July 28, 2013 by dcairns
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An intertitle from MY STARS (1926).
Really incredible response to our film NATAN from Bertrand Tavernier, who writes ~
Sorry for the delay. I had to finish my film which will be shown at Toronto.
I just saw NATAN and loved it. It is a very moving, well reseached, thoughtful documentary, a destruction, a well documented refutation of all those lies and rumors which invaded so many books (specially all those “porn” films in which he was supposedly acting). Your film is merciless with those rumors (the faces do not look alike. It was not him) even with Professor Slade who is now saying the opposite of what he wrote. You found some great and wonderful documents (the speech of Natan about the cinema he wants to build in Lyon is great, some images of his trial with his voice dubbed) some brilliant montage with the clips of AUTOUR DE L’ARGENT. And there are many moving scenes : the letters of Natan, Serge Bromberg speaking about his grand father sent to Drancy (a surprise for me), the last revelation about Melies. Beautiful clips from LES CROIX DE BOIS and LES MISÉRABLES. […] 
Warmest regards
Bertrand
The Minister of Culture should put a plaque at Rue Francoeur, paying a tribute to Bernard Natan who was murdered by the French state.