The true story Once in a Lifetime offers a sincere look into the lives of a classroom of teens who get to tackle one of the most challenging assignments of their life. The opening scene however, shows a discord between a Muslim student and a faculty member regarding the wearing of a hijab (Muslim head covering). While this incident never gets fleshed out, according to the press notes supplied, producer Marie-Castille Mention-Schaar includes the scene to show freedom of expression and the principle of secularism. The scene has the power to suggest a whole new plot for a different film on the subject yet does not take away from the production that follows. Read more
There’s a very good film opening this weekend and it’s pretentious in a very loving way. Partly based on a true story, Marguerite takes you to a time when Paris was in flower and Barons ruled provincial areas of France. And it’s drenched in the opulence of the rich and ravenous with the shysters looking to take advantage of the vain and ostentatious. Elegantly filmed, richly acted and well directed, if you like a good farce, you’ll fall in love with Marguerite. Read more
Looking for a very cool romantic comedy for a night out, then look no further. Gemma Bovery opens today in select theaters and has a very good plot that will keep you intrigued, romantically tangled and completely entertained. At first I thought “Madame Bovary” the novel by Gustave Flaubert, a steamy sexually charged book that titillates and sets minds in forbidden dreams. Actually as the film opens there’s a direct relationship to the winsome story, but only in the mind of a man who in the twilight of his life has romantic thoughts and an imagination as impetuous as Flaubert.
Alice Taglioni does a very good impression of Woody Allen in the romantic comedy Paris-Manhattan now playing in theaters. The cute little film uses the famous actor’s views on life from several of his films to work out a plot that should satisfy most of Allen’s fans and incurable romantics. Sophie Lellouche does a fair job in her first attempt at directing her own script, but for creative reasons her film never reaches a level more than average. Read more
A sweet film with Audrey Tautou opens this weekend, and it’s one that women everywhere should enjoy. It’s called Delicacy, and features an age-old story, but told in an interesting new way. The touching little romance film sets up date night, and an opportunity for the guys to latch on the gal they have been wanting to sway and just go for it. Read more
Erotic, revealing, poignant and disturbing, but a little melodramatic, House of Pleasures delves into one of life’s oldest professions. The film features excellent acting and fine direction on a stage of a turn of the century Paris bordello working its mesmerizing story into some interesting entertainment. Some may feel it’s gratuitous and dull while others find a sad story with a wide range of unfortunate circumstance. Read more
Set in France, The Conquest could have easily been translated to a spoof on the government of the United States. Good acting by Denis Podalydes keeps the story realistic and direction by Xavier Durringer shows he has his finger on the political pulse. If you like a witty take on ‘getting to the top of the food chain,’ then go see The Conquest.
Always bucking his boss President Jacques Chirac (Bernard Le Coq), Nicolas Sarkozy (Denis Podalydes) has his own way of getting elected, telling what the country wants to hear. But, Chirac wants to get re-elected, so he keeps Sarkozy at bay as one of his cabinet members. Sarkozy takes a try at Prime Minister and gets defeated by his arch nemeses Dominique de Villepin (Samuel Labarthe). Never down on a loss he predicts that in 5 years he will be President. Chirac gets offended with his statement and a rivalry begins. But, Sarkozy has a lot up his sleeve, as long as his wife doesn’t do him in first.
The movie moves along fast with the opening showing Sarkozy at the last few days before his election for President. Flashing back we get all the gory details on his fight to the top. Podalydes pulls out a very good performance as the man who wants it all. His mannerisms, demeanor and oratory prowess shows his ability to look like a politician, at least some of the American ones of late. I like the way he shapes his character, uses his support actors and keeps the tempo of the not to be denied candidate.
The timing for the film to be shown in the United States is good and if he can gather an audience, Durringer’s film should have strength among the political science fanatics, gung ho candidate supporters and ardent political party members. Beyond that, audiences for the film dwindle fast because French whit doesn’t translate as easily here as abroad.
The Conquest has not be rated by the MPAA but does contain some language. The film is shown in the French language with English subtitles. My one comment on this: The French people talk very fast, so the subtitles fly by at a very quick pace.
FINAL ANALYSIS: Get your campaign workers together for a night out with The Conquest. (C+)