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BRIEF NOTES ON THE 2018 VENICE FESTIVAL

BRÈVES NOTES SUR LE FESTIVAL DE VENISE 2018

Français

Attending a film festival without being a professional, without being in the cinema environment, lets see many movies in a few days. Most often at random depending on the schedules of films, rooms, queues, sometimes pushed by a conversation with anyone or reading reviews published in newspapers distributed free.

On reflection, these films may have some kinship even if they have been presented in different selections: will organizers, chance, fashion, trend …? Or subjective relationships depending on the mood, fatigue, tastes of the viewer in front of all these films seen in disorder and which could be arranged according to other logic …?
Several films dealt with the author and his work.


Julian Schnabel, the director of At Eternity’s gate on Vincent Van Gogh (1) said that the only way to describe a work of art was to make a work of art. This is what he did in an interesting way by trying to translate the psychological difficulties of Van Gogh essentially by camera movements and his painting by the intense use of color.

The choice of Florian Henckel Van Donnersmarck, in Werk ohne Autor (2), is very different and more classic. He describes the long journey of a young painter to become himself, as requested by one of his teachers, despite the constraints of Western fashion. After the constraints of the communist regime. He finally succeeds in making progress in his portraiture, not in the portrait of command imposed by his father-in-law, compromised in the Nazi and then Communist regimes, but the portrait that also reflects the social reality in which he lives.

It is also this theme that we find, with more or less happiness but in the field of cinema, with Les estivants of Valeria Bruni Tedeschi (3) and The other side of the wind, (4): last film of Orson Welles, shot in the 1970s, unfinished and finished by collaborators, after his death.

Doubles vies of Olivier Assayas (5), deals, among others, this theme around a writer of novels, strongly egocentric. But this film, marivaudage with three couples of the world of the Parisian edition, addresses other questions including that of the press and the edition in the face of the digitization which threatens them.

 

BRÈVES NOTES SUR LE FESTIVAL DE VENISE 2018

Some films can be more or less considered docu-fictions.

Damien Chazelle’s The First Man (6) narrates the preparation, selection and journey of the first man to walk on the moon, Neil Armstrong, and the repercussions on his family life: an exemplary man in an exemplary USA family.

In 22 JULY (7), Paul Greengrass, through the story of a wounded young survivor and his family, reconstructs the deadly Oslo bombing by a right-wing extremist, an attack which a involved many victims including 77 dead..

Sulla mia pelle (8) by Alessio Cremonini recounts the story of an Italian news item: a young consumer and drug dealer is arrested by the police and succumbs, some time later, to the blows received during his interrogation. The facts are obvious, the state of the young at the entrance and exit of the interrogation testifies. For fear of retaliation, the youth does not dare to denounce the responsible policeman known by the exchange of glances.

The first two are well made but are and seem long because the facts, until their conclusion, are known to the viewer. The last, docu-fiction denouncer, shows the disarray of the young and his family face the malfunctions of the police, justice, administration: dysfunctions that have not yet had a judicial sanction.

Without being docu-fiction, some movies are related to facts that have, for a moment, made headlines.

Like Acusada (9), an incomplete reconstruction of a news item in Perugia, Italy. And its aftermath. A girl is murdered in a party. One girl among her friends, whose compromising images she has posted, is charged. Heavy situation despite his final acquittal.

Amanda (10) gets further away from docu-fiction. The dramatic news of the attacks in Paris serves only as a backdrop to the evolution of a family situation. The mother who is taking care of seven-year-old Amanda disappears in an attack and Amanda’s life, her family’s, is turned upside down. Dramatic circumstances do not prevent a glimpse of a peaceful future …

BRÈVES NOTES SUR LE FESTIVAL DE VENISE 2018
Charlie says of Mary Harron (11) is the story of Charlie Manson who, guru of a hippie community of the 60s, the Manson family, trains his followers, mainly young women, in a series of assassinations … In resonance with news, the last part shows the attempts to tear these young women out of the spell of which they are still victims after the killings …

In a very different context, Mario Martone’s Capri-Revolution (12) was inspired by real events: a community created by a Utopian painter at the beginning of the last century on the island of Capri. A shepherdess discovers in the mountains, a group of young people, hippies before the hour, loving art, freedom, naturism, free love … Living in a village with strong traditions, with two authoritarian brothers to whom she opposes, she is seduced by their artistic activities, music, dance …
Between the strong tradition of the village, the revolution through the arts or the scientific and socializing reason of the doctor who cured her, while the army calls her brothers, what will she do?

If, once again, the films of woman were rare in the various selections, the female characters had an important place.

Capri-Revolution could be placed in this group of films.

Roma (13), Golden Lion Award, falls into this category. In a wealthy family living in a bourgeois district of Mexico City (Roma), the father leaves the family home, wife and children, while the nanny-servant becomes pregnant, is abandoned by the parent who participates in the repression of student revolts. The two women face the difficult situation that the men left to them.

The favorite (14) at the court of Ann of England. Whether it be the queen or those who are fighting over the place of favorite, whether they love or fight each other, these women do not let themselves be dominated by men of the court who would like to have the power, not only on politics…

In Napszallta (Sunset) (15), it is also question about a young woman: heiress despoiled of a large headgear in 1910, she comes to Budapest to be engaged in the old business of her parents. As in his previous film, Saul’s Son, Lazlo Nemes, the director, leads his heroine in search of a brother, leader of the revolutionaries…

Other films give the main role to a woman, like Suspiria by Luca Giadagnino (16), Deva by Petra Szocs (17), Dachra by Abdelhamid Bouchnak (18)

Beyond these quality films, arranged by topic, we must not forget, three remarkable films.

The ballad of Buster Sruggs (19), six short stories of the Coen brothers who take classic western themes as humorous fables.

 

Natasha Merkulova et Aleksey Chupov, réalisateurs de The man who surprised everyone.

Natasha Merkulova et Aleksey Chupov, direcftors of The man who surprised everyone.


Some movies feature brothers or sisters, de facto or blood. The title of the film by Jacques Audiard, in its ambiguity, could be emblematic of this group: The sisters brother.
La quietud (20) of Pablo Trapero takes place in Argentina. Two sisters play the leading roles. Young, beautiful, happy, they share everything, their emotions and their lovers, in a magnificent property. When the husband of one returns from Paris, it is the other who picks him up at the airport and immediately takes him in the car … But this happiness, this wealth is based on a hidden crime of the beloved father … And when one of the sisters is pregnant with an uncertain and ultimately useless father, the fruit will be the child of the two sisters…
A star is born of Bradley Cooper (21), pulling a little, can be ranked in this category. It’s not about brothers or sisters but about a couple. A renowned singer recognizes a friend as a true star and pushes her to success. While he sinks into depression and drugs …

 

The Nightingale (23) by Jennifer Lent. A young Irish girl decides to take revenge for the violence of English soldiers, colonists in Australia, as racist towards the Irish as towards the Aborigines: rape, murder of her husband and her child. The guilty soldiers having left the region, she engages of necessity, in spite of her racism, an aborigine to serve as a guide.
This barbarism against the Aborigines and against the Irish deported to Australia, this violence suffered and shared will lead the two heroes of the mutual, necessary aid to the discovery of the other. The song of the other.

With Western The Sisters brothers (24), shot in English, Jaques Audiard sets off to conquer the west. These two brothers who killed and killed without much emotion and scruples, their job, must find a scientist, a researcher of gold. They accomplish their mission but eventually return to the family ranch to change their lives. There is no doubt that the film will reach its audience in France. Will he pick up the Grail as some promise him? In Venice, he touched and the audience and the jury.

David Oelhoffen’s Frères ennemis (25), childhood friends, mostly of Maghrebi origin, lived in the same neighborhood but are no longer on the same side of the barrier. Some live by drug trafficking and are sinking more and more into delinquency greater than them, from hashish to cocaine in large quantities. The other is in the police, stalking them while trying to avoid the worst ….

The fraternity in S. Craig Zahler’s Dragged across concrete (26) is more complex, multiple. During the action, several fraternities are built. A pair of police officers, one black and one white, is suspended for using excessive means to arrest two offenders. In the wake of a major bank attack, they decide to treat the case for themselves and recover the money. The case goes bad because two accomplices have already planned to double the main team. Last survivors, one of the two accomplices, black, and the old policeman, white, decide to join forces …

The man who surprised everyone by Natacha Merkulova and Aleksey Chupov (27). Learning that he is suffering from an incurable disease, a man, a good husband without a history, settles all his affairs and changes his behavior completely: he decides, without saying a word, to display his deep identity.

Aquarela by Victor Kossakovski (28): magnificent film on climate change. In the Far North, the rescue of cars that have sunk into the water due to an unexpected melting of ice, the noisy and majestic fall of huge masses of ice that sinks into the water and rise up like deep breathing, the huge waves, and blue, and black, the sailboat in the storm, the terrible force of hurricanes …

Other films seen:

Kraben rahu (Manta Ray) of Phuttiphong Aroonpheg, 105 mn, Orizzonti.
Peterloo of Mike Leigh, 154 mn, Venezia 75.
La profezia del armadillo of Emanuele Scaringi, 99 mn, Orizzonti.
Ni de lian (Your face) of Tsai Ming-liang, 76 mn, Fuori Concorso.

Vox lux of Brady Corbet, 110 mn, Venezia 75.
Un giorno a l’improvviso of Ciro d’Emilio, 89 mn, Orizzonti.
Deslembro (Unremember) of Flavia Castro, 96 mn, Orizzonti.

La notte de San Lorenzo of Paolo et Vittorio Taviani. 107 mn, Venezia classici restauri.

SHORT FILMS

Blu of Massimo d’Anolfi and Martina Parenti, 20 mn: documentary on the construction of the Milan metro which, by the image alone, gives rise to a certain suspense.

Leoforos patision of Thanasis Neofotistos, 12 mn: a woman caught in the turbulence of a strongly repressed demonstration, is suspended on her cell by the anxiety of knowing her child alone at home.

Strano telo by Dusan Zoric, 20 min. A young woman begins a testimony about the rape she suffered from Serbian soldiers. In a swimming pool, three friends are training. They go in a night club. One is led by a young woman who provokes him by asking for a very vigorous moment. She is finally satisfied. But he goes sick of what he did. He ends up in the army, proud of him. The loop is closed.

Na Li (Down there) by Yang Zhengfan, 11 mn. L’été et tout le reste by Sven Bresser, 18 mn. Ninfe of Isabelle Torre, 12 mn. Los bastardos byThomas Posse, 16 mn.

1 – At eternity‘s gate of Julian Schnabel, 110 mn, Venezia 75, VolpiCup of male interprétation masculine for Willem Dafoe in the role of Van Gogh.

2 – Werk ohne Autor of Florian Henckel Van Donnersmarck, 188 mn, Venezia 75.

3 – Les estivants of Valeria Bruni Tedeschi, 126 mn, Fuori Concorso.

4 – The other side do the wind of Orson Welles, 122 mn, Evento speciale, prize Campari.

5 – Doubles vies of Olivier Assayas, 107 mn, Venezia 75.

6 – The first man of Damien Chazelle, 135 mn, Venezia 75.

7 – 22 July of Paul Greengrass, 143 mn, Venezia 75.

8 – Sulla mia pelle of Alessio Cremonini, 100 mn, Orizzonti.

9 – Acusada ofGonzalo Tobal, 108 mn, Venezia 75

10 – Amanda of Mikhael Hers, 107 mn, Orizzonti.

11 – Charlie says of Mary Harron, 104 mn, Orizzonti.

12 – Capri-Revolution of Mario Martone, 122 mn, Venezia 75.

13 – Roma of Alfonso Cuaron, 135 mn, Venezia 75, Golden Lion Award.

14 – The favorite of Yorgos Lanthinos, 120 mn, Venezia 75, Jury Grand Prize and Volpi cup of female interprétation to Olivia Colman in the role of queen Ann.

15 – Napszallta of Lazlo Nemes, 142 mn, Venezia 75.

16 – Suspiria of Luca Giadagnino, 152 mn, Venezia 75.

17 – Deva of Petra Szocs, 82 mn, Orizzonti.

18 – Dachra of Abdelhamid Bouchnak, 113 mn, Fuori Concorso.

19 – The ballad of Buster Sruggs of Joël and Ethan Coen, 133 mn, Venezia 75, Prix du scénario.

20 – La quietud of Pablo Trapero, 120 mn, Fuori Concorso.

21 – A star is born of Bradley Cooper, 135 mn, Fuori Concorso.

22 – L’amica geniale of Saverio Costanzo, 120 mn, Fuori Concorso.

23 – The Nightingale of ennifer Lent, 136 mn, Venezia 75, Jury special Prize  and Marcello-Mastroianni Prize Young Emerging Actor Awarded for Aboriginal Actor Baykali Ganambarr.

24 – The Sisters brothers of Jaques Audiard, 120 mn, Venezia 75, Silver Lion of the best staging.

25 – Frères ennemis of David Oelhoffen, 111 mn, Venezia 75.

26 – Dragged across concrete of S. Craig Zahler, 158 mn, Fuori Concorso.

27 – The man who surprised everyone of Natacha Merkulova and Aleksey Chupov, 105 mn, Orizzonti.

28 – Aquarela of Victor Kossakovski, 89 mn, Fuori Concorso.

 

Et comme il est impossible de résister à prendre quelques photographies à Venise…

BRÈVES NOTES SUR LE FESTIVAL DE VENISE 2018
BRÈVES NOTES SUR LE FESTIVAL DE VENISE 2018
BRÈVES NOTES SUR LE FESTIVAL DE VENISE 2018
BRÈVES NOTES SUR LE FESTIVAL DE VENISE 2018
BRÈVES NOTES SUR LE FESTIVAL DE VENISE 2018
BRÈVES NOTES SUR LE FESTIVAL DE VENISE 2018
BRÈVES NOTES SUR LE FESTIVAL DE VENISE 2018
BRÈVES NOTES SUR LE FESTIVAL DE VENISE 2018
BRÈVES NOTES SUR LE FESTIVAL DE VENISE 2018
BRÈVES NOTES SUR LE FESTIVAL DE VENISE 2018
BRÈVES NOTES SUR LE FESTIVAL DE VENISE 2018
BRÈVES NOTES SUR LE FESTIVAL DE VENISE 2018
BRÈVES NOTES SUR LE FESTIVAL DE VENISE 2018
BRÈVES NOTES SUR LE FESTIVAL DE VENISE 2018
BRÈVES NOTES SUR LE FESTIVAL DE VENISE 2018
BRÈVES NOTES SUR LE FESTIVAL DE VENISE 2018
BRÈVES NOTES SUR LE FESTIVAL DE VENISE 2018
BRÈVES NOTES SUR LE FESTIVAL DE VENISE 2018
BRÈVES NOTES SUR LE FESTIVAL DE VENISE 2018
BRÈVES NOTES SUR LE FESTIVAL DE VENISE 2018
BRÈVES NOTES SUR LE FESTIVAL DE VENISE 2018
BRÈVES NOTES SUR LE FESTIVAL DE VENISE 2018
Published by Paul ORIOL dans Cinéma

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About « Le château de ma mère » from Marcel Pagnol

French

As part of the Cercle des Chamaileurs, one of us chose to talk about Le Château de ma mère. I would have preferred a play, it would have allowed us to see how Marcel Pagnol himself staged the text he had written.

This choice of Le Château de ma mère made me read 3 books of Pagnol (Le Château de ma mère, La Gloire de mon père, Le Temps des secrets), to loak at 2 films of Yves Robert (Le Château de ma mère, La Gloire de mon père) and read 2 books by Jean Giono (Regain, Le Chant du monde).

 

Conclusion: I am lost. I mix a little everything. Partly because of Yves Robert who staged some anecdotes under titles that are not accurate (the meeting of Marcel and Isabelle in Le Château de ma mère)

What does it come out of? That I am not able to do a structured article like I did on the other books discussed previously. But simply to give sometimes contradictory impressions.

First, a certain lightness of Pagnol’s books. Lightness, in the good sense of the word, that is to say pleasant to read but also lightness compared to Giono. Le Château de ma mère is a fake children’s book with short chapters (6 pages on average) that turn a bit at Le Petit Nicolas or La Guerre des boutons sometimes to Don Camillo and Peppone.
Still highlighted in Yves Robert’s film.
The first hundred pages of Le Château are the enchanted discovery by the young Marcel of the hills, at the beginning with the hunters of which he is the dog beater, before making the faithful dog of Isabelle, to face the big black dog, attached but terrible, to become captain of the beautiful Isabelle  and finally, with all the family, impressed by the old Mastoc, the old dog of the narrow guard.
But the true discovery is the encounter, accomplice, Lili de Bellons, younger than him in the book but larger in the film, which makes him discover, really opens the beauty of nature, wildlife, flora of the hills. With perhaps too much display by Marcel Pagnol of his knowledge of the birds. Marcel tries to give in exchange the story of the city, the multiplication table or the vocabulary of the school. But what Lili prefers is the anecdote of the bartavelles.

Yves Robert is only marginally interested in this meeting-discovery of nature: the first three minutes, including generic, are a circular view around a hill of white rocks, in the mist, under a gray sky, which leads to grosibou (gros hibou, big owl) in his cache, seen from behind, in backlight, disturbing, watching over new hills that we discover, with songs of birds, finally becoming green in a blue sky while the voice of the narrator speaks of these hills, the love of his life, and the holidays over: a car moves away from the country house, a young deboule, in sailor suit, shakes hands …

The second part of the book is made of the adventures of the little Marcel, convict scholarship, equipped to go to the bastide, genius of the plot of the mother and happy meetings of Bouzigue who has a good job thanks to Mr. Joseph, his former teacher, Marcel’s father, and his sister (sic), little virtue! Happy meeting of the scarred count, of the gardener, son of the people. Such is the people; his faults come only from his ignorance. But his heart is good as good bread and he has the generosity of children and especially the bad meeting … the guard accompanied by Mastoc.

 

 

For Yves Robert, it’s essential but it was not enough, he adds the meeting with Isabelle who is in Le temps des secrets.

The success of the book and of the film is probably due to the description of the friendly and family sentimental relations, and to a certain number of happy, picturesque formulas or words of child sometimes of an innocent cruelty. But also to situations that are affectionately ridiculed: the discreet disrespect for his father’s attachment to the Republic, to the instruction beyond his professional life, his scruples, his agnosticism… the religiosity of  Uncle Jules is never questioned.

Beyond the good words of children: il faut le démourir, (it must be indied) … On ne tremble pas pour des chasseurs à moustaches… J’avais décidé de n’aspirer à ces hautes fonctions qu’après mon service militaire. (We do not tremble for hunters mustaches … I decided to aspire to these high positions after my military service). One can be sensitive to a certain lyricism of Pagnol:  L’oreille collée à la roche polie, nous écoutions, les yeux fermés. Elle chantait selon les vents, le mistral la faisait rire…, Les parfums étaient devenus des odeurs et montaient du sol presque visibles, les pins immobiles se mirent à chanter… Leurs costumes de chasse sur les épaules de plusieurs chaises… Son visage énorme était orné de deux paires de moustaches rousses : l’une sous le nez, l’autre au dessus des yeux qui étaient bleus et bordés de cils rouges… Les gouttes de pluie coulaient lentement sur la vitre ; sur ma figure, lentement coulaient mes larmes, an image that he seems to like because he takes it again: De douces gouttes de pluie pleuraient pour moi sur mon visage (Il pleure dans mon cœur comme il pleut sur la ville ? Paul Verlaine)… La pluie tombait en gouttes de silence...

Some of these images flourish pantheism:  La vieille odeur de la bergerie… nous fit savoir… La pluie le comprit, elle s’arrêta… Les trente cinq jours… mais la patience de la pendule en vint à bout. (The old smell of the sheepfold … let us know … The rain understood, it stopped … The thirty five days … but the patience of the clock came at the end).

However, we are very far from the powerful pantheistic lyricism of Jean Giono.

Ardiente Paciencia, Il postino, The Postman

Ardiente Paciencia, Il postino, Le Facteur

Antonio Skármeta wrote Ardiente Paciencia which inspired Michael Radford to realize Il postino (The postman). Book and film tell the story of the friendship between the young man who wants to become a poet to seduce women and his only everyday client, Pablo Neruda. (1). When Mario discovers the beautiful Beatriz, he will make the poet his accomplice at first involuntary then benevolent and effective in his poetic education and conquest …

 This story of love and poetry unfolds in parallel and in harmony with that of Salvador Allende in the conquest and exercise of power and his fall. During this period, Pablo Neruda, very involved in the political events of his country, resides in Black Island, located in Chile in the novel, in Italy in the film. Hence some adaptations at the scenario level.

While the book was written in Spanish and the film was shot in Italian, very often the same text is found in French in the book and in the film. Despite this fidelity to the text, the film and the book have their own identity.

Ardiente Paciencia, Il postino, Le Facteur

In the book, Antonio Skármeta alternates very long sentences with a flood of words, qualifiers that testify to the importance of the phenomenon or feeling described but often with an irony, self-deprecation of the author and a certain truculence. And quick dialogues, sometimes, a popular vocabulary and many traits of spirits that give the reader the smile at times, more or less dramatic for the protagonists.

This aspect is a little erased in the film which insists more on the beauty of the landscapes, the confrontation of the colors: darkness of the post office, pink house of peace and happiness where the postman carries, every day, the mail for Neruda and s opens to poetry and friendship, variations of blue and gray of the sea, calm or agitated, Black Island, volcanic, …

 Paradoxically, where the book gives to see and to hear by the words, the film suggests by the images and the play of the actors, the seductive looks of Maria Grazia Cucinotta (Beatriz), the hands and the very expressive face of Massimo Troisi ( Mario) which contrast with the more restrained game of PN (Philippe Noiret, Pablo Neruda).

 Poetry is often present, as learning, the revelation of metaphor, as a means of seduction for Mario who shamelessly uses the bard’s poems to dominate his shyness and seduce the seductive Beatriz who only asks for this and uses other means; poetry as a transfiguration of reality, sometimes unconscious, Rosa, Beatriz’s mother, reading or hearing the poem Mario gave to her daughter, concludes that he saw Beatriz, naked, because she is just like that (the poem was written for Matilde Neruda’s wife); Mario is seasick listening to a poem recited by Neruda …

 

Ardiente Paciencia, Il postino, Le Facteur
The adaptation of the plot to the Italian situation is at the origin of some welcome scenes: the young Mario is hired because he has a bicycle necessary to carry the mail to Pablo Neruda who lives away from the village and he does not separate from easily, he enters the post office and leaves the cinema with his bicycle (a nod to Vittorio de Sica’s bicycle thief); in Chile, Mario’s hierarchical superior is socialist; in Italy he is a communist; Mario must read one of his poems during a political concentration that ends dramatically, a scene that is perfectly integrated with current images; when Pablo Neruda returns to the village, years later, he enters the cafe, a photo of Beatriz and Mario’s wedding is on the wall, a baby-foot ball bounces on the ground, quickly followed by a boy, Pablito, the son of Mario and Beatriz, reminder of the initial scene of seduction and the first love meeting; last scene, Pablo Neruda on the beach, for the first time, seen from the sea, crushed by the black cliff …

Ardiente Paciencia, Il postino, Le Facteur

The poetic education of the postman by the Nobel laureate Bard is disrupted and eventually interrupted by events happening elsewhere that have serious repercussions on the life of the Black Island. A love story perfectly integrated in History.

 

Ardiente Paciencia, Il postino, Le Facteur

1 – Ardiente Paciencia, book published in Chile in 1985 by Antonio Skármeta, development of the film realized by the author in 1983. This book was translated in French by François Maspéro in 1987. Michael Radford adapted it to the cinema, under the title of Il postino, in 1994 with as main actors Massimo Troisi, Maria Grazia Cucinotta and Philippe Noiret.

1

Un long dimanche de fiançailles (A Very Long Engagement)

Un long dimanche de fiançailles

Un long dimanche de fiançailles (1)


Français

In the winter of 1917, five soldiers sentenced to death for self-harm were brought to the front to be punished. Mathilde, unconvinced, against all and all the evidences, refuses to admit the death of her fiance, one of the five condemned. She’s going to find out what really happened. At the price of a real police investigation.

First images: a high-angle shot to the battlefield and the trench reveals a piece of a still white statue of Christ, hung by an arm, to a tree before seeing the column, the first condemned and hearing his story. The second identical shot, this time, the body of a horse, black, the head stuck between two branches.
Suffering, destruction foretold of abandoned men and beasts …

The film faithfully respects the spirit of the book, despite significant changes in the scenario. A voice off takes up the text of the narrator, accompanied by images that reinforce the dramatic side of this war. Where color plays its role, predominantly gray for the war scenes and yellow for the scene of life away from the front.
For each condemned, the images go beyond simple illustrations of the text and give it flesh, complete it. They show their humanity, the circumstances that brought them there and their previous life, professional and love life, and for Bleuet, all his life. The whole interspersed with several « attention to the wire », telephone wire that crosses the trench at the height of man, only link with the world of the living, with the hope of a possible grace of President Poincaré.

The film begins like the first chapter of the book, the rain has replaced the snow … The five condemned, accompanied by other soldiers, are presented one after the other, by their number. The 2124, Bastoche, 4077, Six-Sous, 1818, Cet Homme, 7328, Ange or Droit commun and the last one, Bleuet, 9692. Bastoche, carpenter in the Bastille and his friend Veronique … Six-Sous, welder in Bagneux who knows, from a family tradition, that one day social justice … and who tries to convince his comrades … Ange, Droit commun of Belle de Mai, in Marseille, who was sentenced to five years in prison for a a question of honor … Cet Homme, a child of the Assistance publique, a peasant from the Dordogne, whom the gendarmes came to look for on the farm, triggering a sudden gust of wind that sets the wheats and steals the load of his cart. And Bleuet, Mathilde’s fiance.

Un long dimanche de fiançailles
Un long dimanche de fiançailles narrates the frightful conditions of daily life of the soldiers in the trenches, on the front which leads them to dehumanization, madness … self-mutilation which can only end in the Conseil de Guerre, enjoyed murder with the bayonet of a defenseless German, execution of a Frenchman by a bullet in the back because, white flag, he advances towards the German front, proclaiming that he was not French but Corsican … not to mention, to improve the statistics of the activity of the front, the order to send the condemned, between the lines, into the no mnan’s land. They will be counted as dead in battle … with the passive complicity of the entire hierarchy which simply executes the orders.

Un long dimanche de fiançailles focuses on Mathilde’s stubborn, stubborn, unbelievable quest to find the trace of Manex, Bleuet, disappeared. This research is told, through somewhat tedious epistolary exchanges in the novel, attenuated in the film. Notably by the images of the factor that brings the mail to Mathilde, treated Tati-like, arriving by bicycle on the gravel of the farm and even in the kitchen. This investigation and the life of Mathilde allow the reader to glimpse, little by little, by luminous images in the film, what was, what could have been the life of all these unfortunates.

 

Un long dimanche de fiançailles

 

Un long dimanche de fiançailles does not escape stereotypes. Apart from Manex-Manech, the central character who is Basque, the positive heroes are obviously from Paris, Bastoche, and the suburbs of Paris, the welder Six-Sous from Bagneux. The negative character is Corsican, evidently proxenet, Droit commun, and his beautiful protected woman, brown, dangerous lover and proud justicier. As for the detective Germain Pire, he is like all the southerners, with a strong sympathetic, compassionate accent, not hesitating, to find Tina, the lover of Droit commun, venturing into Corsica, picturesque and dangerous, where reigns the omerta and to continue it to her workplace where he is shown undergoing a professional toilet and a parade. But helpful and finally relatively efficient.

 

The essential point is the love story, since childhood, of Mathilde and Manex – MMM, Mathilde aime Manex, Manex aime Mathilde – in a beautiful landscape around a symbolic lighthouse. But the loves of the other characters are treated with the same finesse, increasing the contrast between the hardness of what these men live in war and the sensitivity of the love scenes: preliminal tongue games of Véronique and Bastoche that are found but impossible between Manex and Mathile, impossible at their very young age and the window interposed; in the light of matches, apparel offered from Mathilde to Manex, from Elodie to Bastoche, uncertain, lost between accepted obligations and desires avoided, opening an ephemeral link to the unexpected, sterile and devastating results. She will not have the sixth child who would allow the return of her husband and will cause a friendly breakup and a break in love. Fantasy disturbances of the faithful Mathilde.

Finally, Un long dimanche de fiançailles, a film about the woes of war, a police film, a romance movie, with however a net of hope.

 

Un long dimanche de fiançailles
Noise rushes that one can be happy

1 – Un long dimanche de fiançailles, Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s film, 2004, 134 mn, from Sebastien Japrisot’s novel, Denoël, 1991, 367 p.

2 – In Un long dimanche de fiançailles, many things happen who were already in the film All Quiet on the Western Front, sometimes with a different spirit: the soldiers who come up to the front and who see coffins or men who dig graves-we anticipate, « attention to the wire », with hope of grace, the importance of the boots that change owner – to survive – the rats that are hunted – here unfortunately, the character indispensable to find food – Kat and Poux – the sergeant intraitable but not sadiqueici ..

All Quiet on the Western Front

A l’Ouest, rien de nouveau

 

The novel,  All Quiet on the Western Front (Original : Im Westen nichts Neues) von Erich Maria Remarque (1) was released in 1929, followed shortly afterwards by the film which it inspired (All Quiet on the Western Front) by Lewis Milestone (2). Both, pacifists, the war of 14-18 seen by a young German volunteer soldier were a great success.

In Germany, the book was sold at 800,000 copies between 1930 and 1935, the date of the exile of Remarque (published in France in 1930, 600,000 copies), it is one of the best prints of the 20th century, at least, 30 million in the world. The film won two Oscars, best film, best director, in 1930.
The Nazis burned the book at the 1933 autos and censored the film.

The film is not the illustration, image by word, of the book. Situations, dialogues of the book are found there but some scenes have disappeared, others have been added. These modifications, without betraying the pacifist spirit of the novel, bring a slightly different point of view.

It is enough to realize to compare first pages and first images.

 The first lines of the book are devoted to an eventful distribution of the meal. The food, a concrete question, comes back several times throughout the novel: the soldiers are ill and irregularly fed. So far we were mixing food with sawdust, now we have only sawdust said one of them.

But that day, things are very different. The food of the second company arrived, for 150 soldiers. The cook only wants to make the distribution when everyone is there. The second company, gone in first line at 150, returned half decimated: they are only 80!
There are 150 rations and 80 soldiers. The food is for the second company. Each soldier now wants two rations. Including tobacco. The cook does not want to hear anything. This conflict, which threatens to go wrong, is resolved by an officer who decides in favor of the soldiers.

The tone is given. The novel will focus on the concrete situations, on the daily live of the soldiers, especially the narrator’s classmates. And their consequences: hunger of course, death, wounds, fear, promiscuity, morale, attacks and counter attacks …. And reflections on the war, on their concrete situation, on the crises of despair and nostalgia …

It is the warrior engagement that opens the film. Professor’s enthusiasm. He announces to the service woman, both cleaning school, the success of the day: 30 French prisoners, Russians, much more than that!
He opens the door of the school widely on the street, the troops parade in popular enthusiasm. The postman proudly announces his departure the next day as a reserve sergeant. The florist is robbed of its merchandise by the women who throw flowers to the military parading …
While following the parade, the camera enters, with a backward movement, into the classroom, fixes, in a slight dive, on the teacher and the blackboard with writings in Latin and Greek. It then widens to the two windows which frame it in which the parade continues, the military music covering his words.

The image then focuses on the professor, on his discourse, the military music becoming inaudible. He addresses all the pupils and exhorts them to join the army: one student sees himself arriving at home in uniform, to the great terror of his mother and to the proud joy of his father; another imagines himself at the wheel of a military vehicle surrounded by two admiring young women.

Then the professor, in close-up, speaks to some, with a threatening eye, provoking them personally, to the point of triggering the voluntary work of the whole class. Cries, songs, a pupil erases on the blackboard Latin and Greek and inscribed Nach Paris, (To Paris), the others throw away the notebooks, the school is finished as for holidays, they form a monôme and leave the classroom . They pass noisily in front of the windows.

The class is empty. Scattered notebooks. All is said. The culture, Latin and Greek confused, yields to the bellicose ardor. War has already devastated everything. The pupils, duped by their teacher, leave careless. They will not come back or break. Physically. Psychically. Morally.

 

In the last pages of the book and images of the film, Paul, the narrator, dies. In the book, a simple note: He fell, in april 1918… He had fallen, head forward In the film, Paul pays with his life an imprudence while trying to catch a butterfly. Too beautiful image of death …
But while in the previous pages Paul confides and his despair, and the life force that is in him, the last image of the film is a superposition of the second company that rises to the front, already seen image, and a cemetery military with innumerable white crosses

A l’Ouest, rien de nouveau

Of course, book and film show, both, misery, suffering, the presence of death, fear, adaptation necessary for survival at the cost of a realism that might pass for cynicism – the passage of boots become useless from one amputated soldier to another who covets them and then to another after his death … Discussions on the why of the war, about the perpetrators of this slaughter. Of the uselessness of what was learned yesterday at school, to make war, and what is learned today, to survive tomorrow, peace returned. From the impossible rehabilitation of young people to civil society, peace …

Scenes are common to the book and film, as dramatic when Paul stabs a Frenchman who dies slowly before his eyes, as poignant when he goes to see his family, especially his gravely ill mother. Or ridiculous when the strategists of bistro tell Paul that it is necessary to break the enemy front and to run on Paris.

The book deals with more intimate subjects, personal reflections of the author on the poor moments of happiness, the addiction to the suffering, the death of others, a comfortable unbearable promiscuity in civil life: mobile latrines that allow playing cards, a love scene in the hospital, under the protection of his comrades, a wounded man whom his wife came to see …

The added scenes show the grip of every moment of the machine on men, exercises, including bullying, hundreds of young recruits in a barracks court, agitation of the troops, infantry and artillery near the front, attacks counter attacks, bombardments, life in the trench, which involve the spectator in the war.

In the book more than in the film, no hatred against the adversary, the enemy, the brother that must be killed to survive. Who is perhaps better off, French or English, corned beef, white bread, cognac … Who is even more destitute, more unhappy, Russian prisoner … dying, really, of hunger …

The war, seen from both ends.
The brute force of the machine that wounds or kills at random, which enslaves, to which the soldier obeys, because he must obey, because he has become an automaton.
The horror at the level of the ground, felt daily, physical and moral suffering, manages to find food, combines, for a place in the kitchen, some cigarettes against morphine for the suffering comrade …

When we leave, we are only vulgar soldiers, sullen or in a good mood, and when we reach the area where the front begins we have become beastmen.

.

A l’Ouest, rien de nouveau

1 – Erich Maria Remarque, born in 1898, of his real name Erich Paul Remark, did not commit himself: he was mobilized in 1916, sent to the front in 17 and wounded in July. His mother, Maria, named like the mother of the hero of the novel, Paul Bäumer, died of cancer in September 17.

2 – Lewis Milestone (1895-1980) obtained in 1930, the Oscar of the Best director for All Quiet on the Western Front that had also the Oscar of the Best film. Nominated also for the best scenario and the best photography.
Lewis Milestone won already in 1929 the Oscar of the Best Comedy Director for Two Arabian Knights

BandeS à part

 Chacun sa vie (1), Chante ton bac d’abord (2), Bande de filles (3), trois films récents dans les salles parisiennes qui s’intéressent à des jeunes dans leur milieu, leur famille notamment. A travers une histoire particulière, des situations très différentes de la jeunesse française.

Modification 23/11/14 : (Un autre sorti ces jours-ci, Géronimo (4), parle des jeunes)

Une Bande de filles, noires, de la banlieue de Paris, pleines de vie, aguerries qui pratiquent le football américain. Mais au retour dans le quartier, les choses sont un peu différentes sous la présence dominante des jeunes mâles.
L’héroïne du film, en situation d’échec scolaire, refuse l’orientation qui lui est proposée.

Dans une famille, sans père, avec une mère à peine aperçue, elle est totalement soumise au frère aîné, autoritaire, brutal, machiste, et doit s’occuper des deux cadets de la fratrie.

Elle va être la quatrième d’un groupe de filles dont elle devient l’élément principal. A la suite d’un combat, violent, contre la représentante d’un autre groupe.
Décidée à appliquer le conseil de celle qui l’a recrutée, faire ce dont elle a envie, elle fait le pas d’aller chez sont petit ami. Ce qui va lui valoir un traitement violent de la part de son frère qui ne peut supporter d’avoir une sœur qui « couche ».

Pour quitter la maison, elle accepte la protection d’un caïd de banlieue qui l’utilise comme « revendeuse » de drogue, en attendant un « mieux ». Qu’elle refuse.

Coincée entre ce « protecteur », un frère machiste et un amoureux qui lui offre de devenir une bonne épouse docile et attentive. Elle se cabre et repart, décidée, seule, vers un avenir flou.

Le film se déroule exclusivement, dans le quartier, avec quelques sorties à la Défense, entre jeunes, seule la mère est aperçue à deux brèves reprises, garçons et filles, noirs, en dehors des contacts nécessaires avec les clients blancs à qui elle fournit la drogue et la diversité des petits caïds.

Le milieu de « Chante ton bac d’abord » est totalement ailleurs. A Boulogne, une jeune raconte la vie de son groupe, blanc exclusivement, à majorité féminin. C’est l’année du bac que tous, ou presque, vont réussir : un seul échec, deux mentions. Leur famille, unie ou non, est très attentive à leur réussite scolaire. C’est le récit d’une année décisive, avec conflit, plutôt joyeux et chanté, entre des parents inquiets devant la situation économique et qui cherchent à orienter leurs enfants vers des débouchés professionnels et des jeunes qui aspirent à se réaliser dans leur réussite scolaire et professionnelle. Ici ou ailleurs, l’Australie, l’Angleterre.
Une certaine nostalgie, amicale, familiale. Un pas optimiste vers l’avenir. Une coupure. Une aventure.

La question centrale de « Chacun sa vie » n’est pas un groupe de jeunes. Mais celle d’un travailleur algérien qui, arrivé à la retraite, ne pense qu’à réaliser son rêve de retour au pays. Cette décision personnelle est douloureuse pour toute la famille, ses enfants, un garçon et deux filles, qui sont nés ici et ne peuvent envisager leur avenir qu’ici. Qui ont l’age de faire entendre leur voix. Et l’épouse qui, jusque là, a accepté de se soumettre, va prendre le parti de ses enfants. La tentative de retour au pays du père, seul, ne sera que désillusions.
Ce film se déroule en Île de France dans une famille algérienne qui n’est pas complètement fermée sur elle-même. Si le meilleur ami du père est un Algérien qui l’a accueilli lors de son arrivée à Paris, ce n’est pas le cas de ses collègues de travail dont le plus proche le chambre amicalement sur ses choix, sur ses difficultés. La mère discute avec son amie de leurs problèmes de couple, bien proches malgré les différences culturelles.
Quant aux enfants, malgré l’amour qu’ils ont pour leur père, ils revendiquent leur droit à la décision collective.Et au choix personnel. Le garçon,toujours à charge de son père,vit de petits trafics mais ne voit son avenir qu’ici ; la fille aînée qui a été mariée par le père avec son cousin, maintenant divorcée, part à trente ans rejoindre une amie pour travailler à Marseille sans le dire au père ;la cadette,la fierté de ses parents, voit son avenir dans une carrière de musicienne.

Rien n’est rose, rien n’est noir. Tout est encore possible. Mais chacun, chacune voit sa vie qui ne correspond pas aux rêves brisés du père.

Trois films, trois mondes, éloignés, géographiquement, socialement, culturellement. Trois mondes séparés.
Dans des situations plus ou moins difficiles, quelquefois impossibles. Des jeunes refusent la voie toute tracée par la nécessité ou conseillée par la sagesse familiale ou le rêve dépassé d’un père. Relativement favorisés ou plus ou moins handicapés par le contexte social ou familial.
Chacun est en recherche. Avec la volonté, à chaque fois, de choisir sa vie.

( Avec Geronimo, c’est encore un monde de jeunes mais bien différent des 3 précédents. Le jour de son mariage, la jeune mariée, turque, dans sa belle robe blanche, s’enfuie à toutes jambes pour retrouver son amoureux, un gitan, et tous deux s’enfuient  sur un vélomoteur.

Dans la banlieue d’une ville du sud de la France, C’est le drame de Roméo et Juliette, de West side story, entre les deux familles, deux clans se défient dans la danse, s’affrontent avec des armes, tandis que Geronimo, la belle éducatrice catalane, blonde aux yeux bleus, qui connaît ce monde depuis toujours, s’occupe des petits et essaie d’éviter le drame d’honneur.

Rêve de vie  amoureuse, libre de deux jeunes malgré la tyrannie de la tradition qu’un frère voudrait leur imposer sous les yeux des plus vieux prêts à oublier.

NB : l’accent des protagonistes n’est en rien celui du sud de la France).

 

1– Chacun sa vie, 2013 – 1h30, Algérie-France, couleur,de Ali Ghanem

2 –Chante ton bac d’abord,2013 – 1h22, France, couleur, de David André

3 –Bande de filles, 2014 – 1h52, France, couleur, de Céline Schiamma

4 – Geronimo, 2014, – 1h44, France, couleur, de Tony Gatlif