Gett: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem

Gett_the_Trial_of_Viviane_Amsalem-911394322-large

Directed by – Ronit Elkabetz, Shlomi Elkabetz

One of the most compelling pieces of drama I have ever seen. By calling it the best court room drama ever, would mean to diminish its excellency in the genre. We have seen 12 angry men but there were 12 angry men. Here, the entire film is set inside a courtroom with two benches and 3 judges.

The film gives unparalleled insight into the plight of women in Israel. A woman files for divorce from her husband wanting to get out of a thirty year old marriage on grounds of incompatibility. The husband, time and again refuses to show up, probably because he can. Since according to their judiciary system, a man can only grant divorce to a woman, there is nothing even the judges can do to force him. Viviane, patiently, months after months waits for an ultimatum by the court because she has lost all hope from her husband to grant her freedom.

You could see the tension building. The ridiculous nature of the society we all are a part of, puts a mirror up your face and forces you to see it. At one point, Viviane loses it. For which she was also dismissed from the court. But she comes back, because anger cannot buy happiness.

She says, ‘Its easy to blame the one who yells. The one who whispers venom is innocent.’

When I watch films like these, I don’t think about filmmaking. I am so intensely gripped by the drama created by the filmmaker that it comes alive.

That my friend is called masterpiece.

Quite speechless hereafter.

 

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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 Double Life of Véronique (1991)

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

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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

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.

Persepolis (2007)

Persepolis

Never forget who you are and where you’re from.

Directed by – Marjane SatrapiVincent Paronnaud

An animated feature film based on the autobiographical comic book by Marjane Satrapi with the same name. It is the story of a rebellious girl born under the backdrop of Iranian revolution in a family with liberal beliefs but a country that ostracizes them. My favourite character in the film was that of the grandmother. Loved her. Its impossible to believe that such an effective feature film could be made out of simple animation. It proves that more than skill, what you require the most to be an artist is vision. A beautiful film. Trust me – its a treat. The film created a hustle bustle in the country and its reception was seen dangerous. Infact, here’s an extract from wikipedia:

“On 7 October 2011, the film was shown on the Tunisian private television station Nessma. A day later a demonstration formed and marched on the station. The main Islamic party in Tunisia, Ennahda, condemned the demonstration. Nabil Karoui, the owner of Nessma TV, faced trial in Tunis on charges of “vio­lat­ing sacred val­ues” and “dis­turb­ing the pub­lic order”. He was found guilty and ordered to pay a fine of 2,400 dinars ($1,700; £1,000), a much more lenient punishment than predicted.”

Amélie (2001)

Amelie poster

Director – Jean-Pierre Jeunet

After I watched it, it did take me a long time to get over this film. Played by one of the most amazing and revered actresses of French cinema, Audrey Tautou, Amelie is a simple, innocent girl who has lived her entire life in a shell after her parents shunned her from the world outside for they erroneously believed that she had a heart defect. Living in her world of imaginations and fantasies to cope up with the loneliness forced on her, Amelie finally starts working as a waitress in a restaurant, in the process experiencing the many pros and cons of the world, from rude people to estranged love affairs. The tone of the film is set high contrast, making you wonder if its a fairy tale. The story that revolves around Amelie’s pure heartedness and goodwill that makes her find true love in the process, leaves with a broad smile at the end.