Tell no one (2006)

tellnoone72

Directed by – Guillaume Canet

Ne le dis à personne is based on a book of the same name by infamous American author, Harlan Coben.

I loved the way it started. Like most french films, its soul lies in its pacing. Slow and curious at first, then suddenly makes us run along with it. The film is about a middle aged man, Alexandre Beck whose beloved wife became a victim to a serial killer and 8 years later, the tragedy comes back on his doorstep. Now there might be a lead to a story that only seemed unfinished. With Alexandre’s tumultuous journey in search of the real truth and a hidden plot that seems to be getting more and more complicated – the film ends with a bang. I love such films.

What I enjoyed the most were the intricate and delicate detailing of the characters. Of course, they were intentional and contributed not quite subtly in the story – but the fact that they were there, makes it worth the appraising. Its not just a brilliant plot – its the characters and how well they are portrayed to make your story believable that makes a film what it is. I believed in ‘Tell no one’ and at the same time not so much, probably because I could have a figured a better way out in the plot I guess. But I definitely and thoroughly enjoyed watching it!

Au Revoir Les Enfants (1987)

 You scared?
All the time

Au Revoir Les Enfants

Written and Directed by – Louis Malle

During World War II, when Germany had occupied France (1942-44) – this is the story of a boy Julien Quentin in a Carmelite boarding school. He becomes friends with a new schoolmate Jean Bonnet, with a shy demeanour and a secretive history. The backbone of the narrative is their growing friendship while exploring the underlying tension in France.

There are a lot of political references in the film which I did not completely comprehend. But, there was this one instance in the film where all the students had gathered to watch a Charlie Chaplin film and it was in that one scene that everybody looked united – in joy. It made a powerful statement in itself. There are many such moments though, some through interesting characters like the drunkard cook or petty assistant or Julien’s elder brother wanting to join the resistance movement or the fat boy who loves to bully but hardly smiles.

Its that sort of a film that works deftly along its narrative with subtle references of the essence of the plot. It eventually culminates in a silent fear that you must have had all along the way. What is more fascinating about this film is that its autobiographical and has been treated as such, from Julien’s perspective i.e. Mr. Louis Malle’s real life experiences.

A must watch for all film buffs out there.

The Dreamers (2003)

“Before you can change the world you must realize you are part of it.
You can’t stand outside, looking in”

The-Dreamers

Directed by – Bernardo Bertolucci

Based on Gilbert Adair’s novel “The Holy Innocents”, The Dreamers is a film about three friends in Paris, a pair of twins – Theo and Isabelle and an American exchange student – Matthew, who bonded over cinema, politics and love.

I loved the way they meet – while protesting for Henri Langlois’s dismissal from Cinémathèque Française. From the very beginning, you see these youngsters so passionate and gripped by the power of cinema. Eventually, the uninhibited relationship between the twins yet not completely incestuous becomes a utopian world for the trio as Matthew fits in as Isabelle’s lover.

It talks about Maoism and the youth movement in Paris during late 1960s through this amazingly furnished plot. It might seem surreal at places but that is the beauty of The Dreamers.

 

The Double Life of Véronique (1991)

“How did things go?”
Fine. I am even afraid that they went too well..

the-double-life-of-veronique

Directed by – Krzysztof Kieslowski
Written by – Krzysztof KieslowskiKrzysztof Piesiewicz

Kieslowski has his own way of dealing with mysticism, characters stretched vast across and yet so similar, touching each other’s life is ways one cannot imagine. In this film, he tries to tell what people feel and why they feel what they do, by connecting the lives of two girls – Veronica and Veronique – one from Poland, other from France, both played by Irène Jacob.

Veronika feels the presence of “somebody” and wants to know that person and then one day when she sees Veronique, she is contented to know that its true. Later, she chokes and dies while singing. As Veronique sheds a tear for a unknown sadness somewhere, she eventually stops practicing singing too. It all makes sense in the end when Alexander (Veronique’s lover) makes two puppets of Veronica saying ‘During performances I handle them a lot. They damage easily.’ It was almost like God talking – our puppeteer talking.

There is a lot of debate on Kieslowski’s pattern and meaning with colors. Here also, he has used a lot of greens and reds – the famous complementary duos – as Veronica and Veronique. The pattern that I have seen in almost all his films – is the use of coincidences as characters themselves. He seems to really believe in them and doesn’t want to know or wants us to know why they happen if they do. They just do.

I loved The double life of Véronique. Loved it so much.

Kickass torrent link to download – click here

Three colours – Red (1994)

Three colours - red

Directed by – Krzysztof Kieslowski

The last film of the famous trilogy and also the most complex. That is explained from the theme itself i.e. red for fraternity. But then its not just the colour, its different shades that say different things. The film talks about the human nature of trying to connect ceaselessly. It doesn’t matter what we want, it doesn’t matter if we want to reach out or not. Every action of ours is affecting somebody or the other, somewhere we do not perhaps even know. And that Kieslowski has been brilliantly able to prove with peculiar co-incidences in Red.

The film is about Valentine, a part-time model and university student, a selfless person trying to see good in everything who meets Kern, a retired judge whose judgement on humanity is that they aren’t worth anything – a cynical sulker you might call. The narrative is a multi-layer reference to the meaning of fraternity – where people connect with each other in ways completely unimagined and where no one lives in isolation, shown from the perspective of two extreme opposites of human nature. I absolutely loved it.

PS – Its not the kind of film you watch and say how amazing it is. It is the kind of film that you watch, that takes time to sink into you. Its an unmatched experience. And I am glad it happened to me in my classroom at XIC. Thanks to Arun Sukkumar.

Kickass torrent link to download – click here

The Piano teacher (2001)

The piano teacher

Directed by: Michael Haneke

“You are mad.”

Brutal. I don’t know which part of it was more merciless – the act who could play characters like that or the film in itself. When you read the imdb description, ‘A young man romantically pursues his masochistic piano teacher’ and with that sexy-max poster, you don’t expect to see what I just saw.

The film is anything but romantic. A middle aged woman who lives with her elderly and domineering mother (Annie Girardot) teaches piano at a Vienna music conservatory. You see her watching porn, peeing out of pleasure after watching other people having sex in their car. On the other side – in her classes, she is the most stubborn, ruthless thing. 17 year old Walter falls in love with her and romantically pursues her but soon is repelled by her sadomasochistic fetishes.

What I absolutely loved about the film was that throughout the movie, Haneke doesn’t let you go too close to the character. When she repels Walter, she repels you. When she hurts an innocent girl because of her jealousy, you find her evil too. You find her strange and you don’t empathise with her, but you can’t stop watching her. And isn’t that for the best? Nowhere does he try to justify his protagonist, if he had – the film could have been good, but not this brilliant.

Its insane. Unbelievable insane.

Kickass torrent link to download – click here

Three colours : White (1994)

Three colours white

Directed by – Krzysztof Kieslowski

As mentioned earlier in the post about the first trilogy, Blue, Kieslowski wants you to follow his colour very, very carefully. Here, the theme of the film is equality – represented by white. The first time you see white in the film, Karol Karol (Zbigniew Zamachowski) looks up to admire pigeons flying and its the white shit that falls on him. Equality is thus bullshit and he definitely doesn’t have it, at least not in France.

The film is about a couple who are getting divorced because Karol is not able to satisfy his wife, Dominique’s (Julie Delpy) sexual needs. He asks her to come to Poland where everything will be ok again, but being French, she doesn’t want to leave.

When Karol goes back to Poland finally, he strives everyday to get one step closer to be reunited with his ex-wife. Here again, as in “blue” – the one that is to be attained – equality has been predominately denoted by a plaster bust of Marianne (France’s national emblem for liberty and reason) that breaks during his journey back to Poland and which he tries to fix (efforts to get his equality – to get even with his wife by having her back after she broke his heart).

My favourite film in the trilogy, the most relatable as well. It talks about desires, love and hope in the most beautiful way, never missing the political agenda of the period i.e. reference of Russia occupying Poland in many places. Must watch.

Kickass torrent link to download – click here

Three colors: Blue (1993)

Three colours - blue

Directed by – Krzysztof Kieslowski

Blue is the first of the Three colours trilogy (other ones are white and red) which are supposed to be based on the revolutionary ideas of liberty, equality and fraternity, respectively. It is very important to watch each of there with the feel of colours which speak loud and clear throughout.

Within first 10 minutes of the film, the entire background is established and that too with minimum dialogues where Julie survives a car accident but loses her husband, a renowned music composer and five year old daughter, Anna. She shuns herself off the world out of immense grief, by running away from everything that tethered her to the past in an attempt to achieve freedom. Now, this freedom is represented by blue which keeps repeating in different forms in the film but predominately stays as a small blue chandelier which is the only thing she keeps from her past.

With the revelation of her husband’s pregnant mistress she eventually realises the need to embrace who she really is, by accepting her music and allowing herself to love again. The blue is finally achieved in the end.

Its majestic.

Kickass torrent link to download – click here

The lovers on the bridge (1991)

Lovers on the bridge

Directed by – Leos Carax
Written by – Leos Carax

That film which introduced me to Leos Carax. One of the most uncanny, perplexing, pure and contentious romance I have ever seen. Its a simple but complicatedly interweaved story of a young, homeless couple who fall in love while living in Paris’s oldest bridge, Pont Neuf.  Michele is an artist with a rare eye disease and Alex is a circus performer addicted to alcohol and sedatives.While in the first half of the film, I was in the process of understanding this filmmaker’s perspective, with on and off feelings about it, the second half of the film completely caught me in its web. Alex falls madly in love with Michele and while she is trying to get over her failed relationship, Julian – she also finds a dependable companion, soon-to-be-lover in Alex. But he is scared that she will leave him if her eye is cured and thus, tries to keep her away from it but eventually ‘hope’ finds its way to the bridge and when the film culminates, you can’t help but wonder how purely magical cinema could be.

This feature starring  Juliette Binoche and Denis Lavant, has sucked up the best of them – you’ll be amazed by its intensity. You don’t have to see fire to feel the heat. My favourite scene is the last one – the one before they fall from the jeep – the one with her joke and both of them laughing.

The past (2013)

Directed by – Asghar Farhadi

You’ll be amazed at what the master manages to do this time. After films like A separationAbout Elly, he has again managed to blow our minds with this absolutely enthralling feature called The past. The story starts with Marie waiting in the airport to pick up her soon to be ex husband Samir. As she calls him through the glass window, he could not hear and when they eventually meet, the story unfolds. In the entire film, nothing is obvious – everything is told but again not in an obvious way. Asghar Farhadi again manages to get the attention of his viewers unblinkingly in this tale of broken relationships, unsaid and hidden feelings of love, hatred. The inevitable decadence of marriage befalls on you as the film walks with you through suppressed emotions, teenage complications and innocent ignorance.

The use of glasses is clear, both visually and metaphorically throughout the film and as the director spoke about it in the festival (The Iranian filmmaker, Asghar Farhadi was the chief guest if MAMI), the significance is very relevant to the very nature of the film – where people talk and talk and nobody understands the other. It is worth every second and a film you must watch, an experience you won’t forget.