Posts

Showing posts from October, 2011

Gainsbourg: A Heroic Life

Image
By Moira Sullivan
The late French singer songwriter Serge Gainsbourg has received a renaissance of tributes in French culture since his death in 1991.  His life was cut short due to drug and alcohol addiction but that did not interfere with the love affair he had with the French people.The premise of Gainsbourg: A Heroic Life seems to rest on his origins in a poor Jewish family in Nazi occupied Paris where his father forced him to play the piano.
Young Serge suffered from an inferiority complex and as the story goes he developed an alter ego that made him more dashing and debonair than he felt inside. He cannot be considered handsome but he had outstanding charisma and charm that endeared him to primarily women, but he also served as a hero to men because of that success. As far as I can see this is why he is deserving of the title of the film.

Joann Sfar who made a graphic novel that concentrates on this alter ego directs the film. Obviously, this helped Serge survive who quickly becam…

The Women on the 6th Floor

Image
By Moira Sullivan The Women on the 6th Floor (Les femmes du 6ème étage, France 2010) was part of this year’s out of competition selection at the Berlin Film Festival and opens in San Francisco this week. Directed by Philippe Le Guay, the film is partly autobiographical inspired by his family’s Spanish maid, Lourdes. In this film on the sixth floor of a stockbroker’s family house live several Spanish maids who serve affluent French households. The setting is Paris in 1982. Jean-Louis Joubert played by Fabrice Luchini lives a predictable life with his wife Sandra (Sandrine Kiberlain) who has her toenails painted, her dresses fitted and enjoys tea with other French housewives. The maid of the family for 25 years quits but actually is just let go when Joubert’s mother dies, and a young Spanish woman is employed in the household to serve Mrs. Joubert. As might be expected Mr. Joubert is smitten by not only Maria but also all the Spanish maids upstairs. He seems to take a genuine interest in…

My Afternoons with Margueritte

Image
By Moira Sullivan 
My Afternoons with Margueritte stars French actor Gérard Depardieu, who plays Germain Chazes, a man with a scarred childhood. Because of his weight problem, he has been teased and ridiculed all his life in the provincial French village where he was raised by a single mother. Despite these emotional setbacks he has a beautiful young girlfriend played by Sophie Guillemin – somewhat unrealistic because he is twice her age, yet twice his age is a kindly, elderly woman whom he truly enjoys conversations with – Margueritte, played by the 96 year old veteran French actress Gisèle Casadesus. Margueritte is a well-read scientist and she opens doors to this illiterate adult man who has been the butt of jokes all his life. He lives in a trailer in the garden behind the house where he grew up with his mother. The emphasis on the film is the friendship that develops between Germain and Margueritte -  not your usual on screen relationship, and for that reason the film has a warm f…