15th Mar2015

Suite Francaise – Film

by timbaros

images-345In the early 1940’s a young woman wrote a novel about the romance between a young French Jewish woman and a German soldier. The writings were found 50 years later and was then published as a very successful book. Now Suite Francaise is a movie.

In the German occupied French town of Bussy during World War II, each house was expected to house a German soldier. Lucille Angellier (played by Michelle Williams) lives in a large house with her mother-in-law Madame Angellier (Kristin Scott Thomas) and their housekeeper. Of course the locals aren’t happy about this, they’re downright scared. It gets even more serious when soldier Bruno van Falk (Matthias Schoenaerts) is placed in the Angellier household in their upstairs room. Lucille’s husband is off fighting in the war and it’s been a long time since there has been any news about him. Lucille continues to receive conflicting reports as to whether he is on the battlefield or in a camp. Meanwhile, one of Madame Angelliers tenants is extremely jealous that the German soldier who is staying with them has started making advances on his wife.

Back at the Angellier home, Lucille slowly starts to have feelings for Bruno, especially after she discovers he, like her, loves to play the piano. Slowly they fall in love with each other, it’s of course a forbidden love, but they can’t hold back the feelings they have for each other. Things come to a blow when the tenant kills the German soldier and goes on the run (hiding in Lucille’s home), and the German Commander holds the towns’ Viscount responsible, and if not found in a few days, the Viscount will be killed. It’s up to the brave Lucille to ask for Bruno’s help, and in turn they risk not just their relationship but their lives as well.

What could’ve been a beautifully-told film from an amazing novel is turned, by director Saul Dibb, into a less than believable romance movie that seems to be missing the sum of it’s parts. Lucille and Bruno’s relationship starts all too quick, it feels like some scenes have been edited out for time, leaving gaps in the story. Some of the characters actions are left unexplained, and the ending is not as dramatic and emotional as it should be. American Williams looks every bit like a young French woman falling in love and Schoenaerts looks every bit a German soldier falling in love, and they have great on screen chemistry. Meanwhile Scott Thomas never fails to impress. Costumes, art direction, sound, music, cinematography and all the supporting actors are all top notch. But Suite Francaise is not as good as one would’ve hoped in light of the the fascinating background to the book. In 1942 Irène Némirovsky had finished writing two novels when she was arrested and eventually was murdered at Auschwitz. The notebook containing the two novels was eventually read by her daughters in 1998 and went on to become a best selling book in 2004.

14th Oct2013

London Film Festival – 2013

by timbaros

The 57th BFI London Film Festival in partnership with American Express started on Wednesday October 9 with a stellar line up of films.

Here is a sneak peak of a few of those films.

Opening Night Gala

Captain Phillips – Tom Hanks (Directed by Paul Greengrass)

The first of two films starring Hanks in the festival, the eagerly awaited Captain Phillips has Hanks as the captain of a cargo ship which is hijacked by Somalis. The buzz on this film is that it is Hank’s best performance ever, and that the actors who play the kidnappers are just as good. This will be the film to watch.

Saving Mr. Banks – Tom Hanks (Directed by Lee Hancock)

This is the other film starring Hanks, and is about the making of Mary Poppins, the 1964 film which starred Julie Andrews. Emma Thompson plays PL Travers, the creator of Poppins, while Hanks plays Walt Disney. In this film, Disney asks Travers to come to Hollywood to participate in the development of the screenplay for Poppins.

12 Years A Slave – (Directed by Steve McQueen)

Unknown actor Chiwetel Ejiofor plays Solomon, an accomplished violinist who is living as a free man in New York City but is conned into joining a traveling show and then sold into slavery. Ejiofor is being tipped for the Best Actor Oscar for his performance. 12 Years A Slave is produced by Brad Pitt, who has a small role in the film. Expect awards aplenty for this film.

Gravity- Sandra Bullock and George Clooney (Directed by Alfonso Cuaron)

Cuaron, director of the well-received Pan’s Labyrinth and Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, leads heavy duty starts Bullock and Clooney who play astronauts who encounter danger on a mission in space. Expect huge box office for this film.

Labor Day – Kate Winslet (Directed by Jason Reitman)

Winslet, back on the big screen for the first time since 2011’s Contagion, plays the reclusive mother of a sensitive teenager, and is withdrawn and brokenhearted after the breakdown of her marriage. On Labor Day weekend, they meet a wounded man (Josh Brolin), who changes their lives forever.

The Invisible Woman – Ralph Fiennes, Kristin Scott Thomas (Directed by Fiennes)

Fiennes, who directed Coriolanus, stars as Charles Dickens, and tells the story of his affair with a young actress (Felicity Jones), which lasts until his death. Thomas plays the young girl’s mother. The Invisible Woman was written by recent Emmy winner Abi Morgan, who also wrote The Iron Lady.

The Epic of Everest – Directed by John Noel

Another documentary about Mount Everest? Yes, but this one is different. It records the third attempt to climb Everest, which culminated in the deaths of George Mallory and Andrew Irvine. This sparked the debate on whether they made it to the top or not. Noel filmed this in brutally harsh conditions to realistically retell this moment in history.

Parkland – Directed by Peter Landesman

Hanks (him again?) produced this film, which recreates the events of November 22, 1963, the day that President John F. Kennedy was shot dead in his motorcade while traveling through downtown Dallas. Featuring an ensemble cast, including Zac Effron, Billy Bob Thornton, Paul Giamatti, and Colin Hanks (his son), Parkland tells in detail every single decision that was made that day which would change history.

Kill Your Darlings – Daniel Radcliffe (Directed by John Krokidas)

The hotly anticipated Kill Your Darlings has Radcliffe playing a young Allen Ginsburg. Torn between loyalty to his sick mother and the burgeoning Beat Generation scene of downtown New York City in 1944, Kill Your Darlings follows the trails of Ginsburg as he makes friendships with William Burroughs and Jack Kerouac.

These are just some of the highlights as to what is on offer at the festival. For more information, and to buy tickets, please visit http://www.bfi.org.uk/lff.