I knew from the very first images of Melancholia, the 2011 movie written and directed by Lars Von Trier, that it wasn’t going to be me. The premise is interesting though: two sisters, one deeply depressed, coming to terms with (bad) family issues while a planet called Melancholia threatens to hit and destroy Earth. The end of the world. Two parts in the film, each one focussing on one of the sisters. A weird family. Illness, depression, and then nothing. Even if the story is interesting, it failed to grab me, maybe because not much happens (except, I suppose, the end of the world, which is in fact quite a lot!) or maybe because the atmosphere of the movie is suffocating. And with two hours and ten minutes, it is long. By the way, it’s got a stellar cast, Kirsten Dunst, Charlotte Ramping, Kiefer Sutherland, Charlotte Gainsbourg… wow. But I expected more.
Monthly Archives: December 2011
In the 60’s in Paris, a very conservative couple is faced with a group of Spanish maids who live on the 6th (and last) floor of the building owned by the very same couple. A new maid turns up to work for the couple, and their lives take a new turn… This 2010 comedy/love story by Philippe Le Guay is a classic clash of classes. Of course it is one of the best material that exists for comedy, and this one is no exception. It has however deeper moments. You have to know Paris well to realise that the sixth floor of Hausmann buildings was a series of tiny rooms with no running water (and often no heating) sharing one toilet, and which was where the maids lived. These maids were not allowed to use the lift, which didn’t reach their floor anyway. Nowadays these “maid rooms” are rented by students or those who can’t afford larger apartments. I have fond memories of parties on the 6th floor – I actually owned and lived in one of those rooms myself for a few years. “The Women on the 6th Floor” is a good film: funny, never boring, at times tender and beautiful, and so very French – but with a good plot. I think it is one of those very good, low-key French films. I’m not fond of Fabrice Luchini, the main character, but it worked for me this time. Five stars.
Jake Reese, a University professor, is attacked by two thugs who cut one of his fingers, and then apologise. A few days later, his finger turns up in the post. You don’t need to be psychic to know that not everything is right. The police is dragging their feet, and then his wife disappears before turning dead in mysterious circumstances. Jake decides to turn to a childhood acquaintance, Gabby, to find out what is happening. Jake knew he shouldn’t do that – and his wife had told him so before disappearing – but it’s too late. And it is something he may regret forever.
We’ve all read so-called page-turners, but “Already Gone” is one. Literally. It is a short novel, full of action and suspense, cliffhangers and twists. You will be eager to finish it as soon as you’ve started it. And it is sometimes a bit bloody, although not in a very graphic sense. I enjoyed the novel. Having said that, I was a tad disappointed by the ending – not that it wasn’t right, it had all the ingredients to keep you on your toes, but I was expecting more I suppose. Maybe it is because the book is so full of twists that I wanted it to end with a big bang… Some of the characters’ actions are also unrealistic at times, in a horror movie kind of way, but it works well. A very good read.
Melbourne is an amazing place: sunny one second, freezing the next; full of architectural surprises; multicultural; hidden lane-ways; water and parks everywhere; and more importantly, a pleasure for the taste buds – there are so many restaurants and eateries that you wouldn’t have enough a lifetime to try them all.
Spring Fever is a 2009 film by Ye Lou; it is a Hong Kong-French coproduction. It was presented to the Cannes Festival of the same year and won the prize for best scenario. To be honest, I wonder if it won the prize more because it tackles a touchy subject (homosexuality in China) than for the film itself. I found it slow, boring, and a tad too long. And the lack of dialogue makes it painful. The story is simple: two men, one of them married, going with each other and slightly confused. A number of characters revolve around them, but I quickly lost track of who was who. Disappointing.