The World of Jacques Demy (L’univers de Jacques Demy) (1995)

AGNES VARDA Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.  France/Belgium/Spain, 1995.  Canal+ Espana, Canal+, Centre National De La Cinematographie, Ciné Tamaris, DocStar, Institut National de L’Audiovisuel, La Sept-Arte, Ministere des Affaires Etrangeres et du Developpement International, Sofica Valor 2.  Screenplay by Agnes Varda.  Cinematography by Stephane Krausz, Peter Pilafian Georges Strouve.  Music by Michel Colombier, Michel Legrand. Film Editing by Marie-Josee Audiard.  Agnes…

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Bad Seed (Mauvaise Graine)

BBB.5 (out of 5) Billy Wilder made his directorial debut in France before escaping oncoming Nazi power and heading to Hollywood.  He shows talent as a filmmaker early on in a charming story he co-helmed with Alexander Esway that also features an early appearance by a seventeen year-old Danielle Darrieux.  She plays the sole female member of…

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The Young Girls Turns 25 (Les Demoiselles Ont Eu 25 ans) (1993)

AGNES VARDA Bil’s rating (out of 5):   BBBB.5.  France, 1993.  Ciné Tamaris.  Screenplay by Agnes Varda.  Cinematography by Alexandre Auffort, Stephane Krausz, Patrick Mounoud, Georges Strouve, Agnes Varda.  Music by Michel Legrand, Jacques Loussier.  Cannes Film Festival 1993. It’s astounding how much love and affection Agnes Varda packs into 64 very short minutes. On the occasion of the 25th anniversary…

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La Ronde

BBB (out of 5) Max Ophuls adapts Arthur Schnitzler’s play to delightful effect in this beautiful film. It begins with Anton Walbrook playing host to the audience, setting the scene in turn-of-the-century Vienna and popping up between scenes as various characters in order to facilitate the many crazy love affairs that are displayed.  Each scene…

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Le Plaisir

BBB (out of 5) Max Ophuls adapts three Guy De Maupassant stories for an aesthetically pleasing film that whiles away the time with its beauty and delicacy. All set in the nineteenth century, the first story is a short prologue about an old man who deals with age by masking himself as someone younger and…

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The Earrings Of Madame De… (Madame De…)

BBBB (out of 5) Max Ophuls was such a master of making films that were incredibly beautiful and so strikingly unimportant. In fact, the shallow romances that inhabited many of his films would have prevented them from being remembered if it wasn’t for his skills in creating images that gave his work the passion that…

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8 Women (8 Femmes) (2002)

FRANCOIS OZON Bil’s rating (out of 5):   BBBB.5.  France/Italy, 2002.  BIM Distribuzione, Canal+, Centre National De La Cinematographie, Fidélité Productions, France 2 Cinema, Gimages 5, Local Films, Mars Distribution.  Screenplay by Francois Ozon, Marina de Van, based on the play by Robert Thomas.  Cinematography by Jeanne Lapoirie.  Produced by Olivier Delbosc, Marc Missonnier.  Music by Krishna Levy.  Production Design by Arnaud de…

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Mayerling

BBB.5 (out of 5) Elegant film about doomed lovers of the late 19th century, set against director Anatole Litvak’s keen eye for gorgeous gowns and plush drawing rooms. Charles Boyer and Danielle Darrieux star as the real-life Archduke Rudolph of Austria and Baroness Marie Vetsera, who had everything going for their romance except one thing: the…

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Nouvelle Chance (Oh La La!)

BBBB (out of 5) Anne Fontaine follows two films centring on the adventures of Augustin Dos Santos (Jean-Chrétien Sibertin-Blanc) with a third delightful comedy. In this one, Augustin’s minor theatrical endeavours are thwarted when he is hired by a company to put on a quintessentially French performance for visiting Swedish businessmen. This is a problem…

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Une Chambre En Ville

BB.5 (out of 5) Jacques Demy looks to recapture the glory days of Umbrellas of Cherbourg with another chamber piece in which there are no musical numbers but all the dialogue is completely sung.  This time the centre of action is not an umbrella shop but an apartment in Nantes, where Danielle Darrieux lives in fear…

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The Young Girls Of Rochefort (Les Demoiselles De Rochefort)

BBB.5 (out of 5) Jacques Demy follows the success of The Umbrellas of Cherbourg with another musical. This time the entire dialogue track is not sung, and the format is more like a traditional American musical. Catherine Deneuve and Françoise Dorléac (Deneuve’s real-life sister) play music teachers in the beautiful town of Rochefort who are looking for…

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Persepolis

BBBBB (out of 5) Marjane Satrapi’s popular graphic novel is translated to the big screen with her gorgeous art work intact.  It recounts growing up on the cusp of one of Iran’s most turbulent periods, enjoying the love of her patient parents during her feisty childhood before the Iraq war and Iranian revolution turn her…

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