French Film Festivalby Helene Wong
Helen Wong's roundup of films from the French Film Festival.
They’re 60 years apart, but the classic comic genius of Jacques Tati in Mr Hulot’s Holiday hovers like a benevolent uncle over Granny’s Funeral, which begins as a tale of ordinary midlife blues before blossoming into a whimsical, magical take on romance. Both are among the comedies in this year’s programme.
The Other Son is about two families, one Israeli, one Palestinian, with sons mistakenly switched at birth. Here, politics gives precedence to the personal, and a tight script, well-defined characters and fine acting track the fallout with moving sensitivity.
Similarly, Canada’s Oscar entry for Best Foreign Language Film, War Witch, about a female child soldier in an unnamed African conflict, manages, credibly, to inject humanity and laughter into its terrible circumstances.
French artists abound: Renoir is a gorgeously filmed piece about ailing père and wounded fils, and the young artist’s model who inspires and heals them; The Man Who Laughs is a visually striking adaptation of Victor Hugo’s novel; and in You Ain’t Seen Nothin’ Yet!, Alain Resnais (90) has a bevy of respected actors enact the legend of Orpheus and Eurydice with playful cinematic trickery. And Christian Louboutin’s shoes support the perfect legs and arses of erotic dancers at Paris’s Crazy Horse, in Feu: Crazy Horse by Christian Louboutin. What’s more, they’re in 3D.
The best jollies, though, come from the food porn in Haute Cuisine. Hortense (Catherine Frot, parfaite) is a chef from Périgord summoned to be the President’s personal cook. Battling sexism and bureaucracy, she produces divine regional dishes, which, shot in loving close-up, will get your juices going.
OPENS FEBRUARY 21
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