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Carytown French Film Festival: Short Films—Part Deux

25 Mar

I unfortunately missed the first two shorts on both days but I did catch the end of Je t’attends toujours (Day 2) and it seemed to have a good mix of thrills, drama and an exciting storyline.  However I wan not sure if it was a true story or a mocumentary.


Day 2.

Un week-end a Paris: (A weekend in Paris):  Not too sure of what this was about because my French is very limited and there were no subtitles, but the girl in this film was adorable.  I think the premise was something like they pretend to go to Paris but go elsewhere in search of something—but of what I am not sure.  It was rather slow paced in the beginning and though it was strange how most of the beginning was exterior shots of buildings and scenery accompanied with voiceover, I think that subtitles would have clarified this situation.  So due to lack of subtitles, I give this a B-.


La Baleine et moi (The Whale and me): A documentary about a former free-diving champion and her encounter with a whale and its baby.  I found this documentary to be rather eccentric and rather atypical of a usual documentary.  In a way I found it to be kind of incomplete or lacking something that I cant quite put my finger on.  Though I really liked the film of the whales, I give this a C+ for incompleteness but an A for the whale footage and underwater scenes.


Dead: Another kind of strangely unique film like Je veille sur vous from the first day.  I think that the dad (the leading man) in this is dead/a ghost, but it could be that he is just not around as much and now wants to be a better father? Not too sure.  The special effects were well done and the story kept you on the edge of your seat of what would happen to the baby.  I give it a B.


Monsieur Leroi: Very fitting film for the time of unemployment and the stresses of interviews.   A man Mr. Grabin has finally got an interview after a long time of searching for a job.  What starts as a typical day, turns in to a rather odd interview.  Comical, unique, and peculiar, I give this film A+.


Palmipedarium: I found this film to be rather weird and not that enjoyable.  It seemed rather dark and kind of scary.  There were times where I thought I might have the story figured out and other times where I was surprised by what happened. The animation however was satisfactory as well as the editing.  So for animation and editing I give this an A but overall I say C.


Time to split: Though it was a rather usual story, about a couple with a child who split up and may or may not get back together, I love split reality films showing things happening for two people at the same time! I liked how the line dropped down through the film and split the story.  This was so well filmed and edited, and I like how the way it was divided split screen made each segment look like frames in a filmstrip.  Overall I give this an A+.


*flim descriptions taken from this year’s festival program*


Carytown French Film Festival: Short Films

25 Mar

Another great year of shorts! While each film shared its story differently, some common themes among the films were humor, love, life and death to mention a few. Some films were very well done, others were strange and still others felt kind of out of place, yet all were entertaining to watch.


Day 1.

Je veille sur vous (I’m watching over you): I will say that the cinematography and audio were well done.  However, I was not really sure of the storyline.  I think that the man was living through memories of his past.  His wife had certainly died but I wasn’t sure if the kids were his kids and had died young or if they were his kids and had grown up and left him or if they really were neighbor kids.  It was a little strange and creepy but it was cool to see how he remembered things through recordings and then painting silhouettes to make it seem like there were people in the house.  It was an interesting film concept, but make take more than one look to fully understand, I give it a B.


Micha Mouse: It started out a little slow, but picked up as the story moved on.  The old age makeup was definitely noticeable but I think that overall it worked with the extreme makeup and costumes (and hair) that are seen in the flashback.  *Set in NYC during the late 1920s, this biopic recounts the life of a certain Walt, a cartoonist, and the real life of one of his fictional characters.  It was very entertaining and enjoyable to watch. Not really a spoof, maybe more of a homage, but it was certainly a new perspective on how a very recognizable character came to life.  I give this film an A.


Catharsis: Great acting, filming and editing.  Had an Inception feel, movie about a movie/dream within a dream.  But it also kind of reminded me of Fellini’s 8 ½ a little bit.  A man so tortured by his unfulfilled dream to be a director causes great unrest and makes for tremendous internal conflict.  With moments of humor, drama, thrill, sadness the film shows his struggle to find sanity and get back to reality and to the girl he loves.  I give it an A.


Les Perruches (the Parakeets): A bittersweet story about two friends, Laura and Lili, who has cancer.  Lili, troubled by the loss of her hair and uncomfortable with the hospital wig cannot bring herself to go out.  Laura gives here a makeover and dresses up as well so Lili won’t feel alone.  Feeling rather out of place a first the two walk the streets and run in to some rather unusually dressed men and it changes their course of events.  I truly loved everything about this movie and the message how one small change can alter your look on things.  I give this an A+


No comment: A 4-minute comedy about a girl’s encounter with two very different men and her thoughts about men picking up women etc.  Though the filming looked a little amateur (like it was being shot handheld) and the audio was a peaking a little in places the story still was still terrific and I give it an A.

Bonjour! French Film Festival: Carytown

21 Mar

The French Film Festival, in its 21st year, has returned to Carytown, RVA.  Put on by two local colleges, University of Richmond and VCU, this annual Film Festival draws in huge crowds to the Byrd Theater and Carytown.  With Master Classes to attend and films from feature films to documentary and short films, there is much to see and do at the event. 

I first attended the festival last year and was blown away by the event.  Not only did I enjoy the movies that I saw, but also I loved experiencing an aspect of French culture and learning more about film history and French film history.  I could talk, and talk, and talk about my time at the event but I will just mention some of my favorite highlights of the event.

At last year’s event, they showed a special piece of film history—George Méliès’ The Adventures of Robinson Crusoe.  The film was restored and it was really fascinating to see a film from one of the first filmmakers.

While at last year’s event, I attended the 20th Anniversary Special Screening of Jean-Paul Rappeneau’s Cyrano.  The premise of the story was interesting, minus the fact that Cyrano and Roxane were cousins, it was an interesting twist on a love story.  Cyrano is very much in love with Roxane but is sure that she will reject him because of his rather large nose so he expresses his love for her anonymously in a series of letters on behalf of his friend Christian.  For me the film was nice to see how this crazy love mix-up unfolded but the film was rather slow paced and some scenes were very drawn out.

Another interesting feature film was Poupoupidou, a mashup of a JFK and Marilyn Monroe story mixed with a murder case.  A writer, Rousseau is a best selling crime novelist with a case of writers block.  Candice Lecoeur is a local beauty that believes she is a reincarnate Marilyn Monroe.  She is found dead in this small, rather cold village in France and declared dead by suicide but Rousseau does not buy that and uses the case for inspiration for his book. 

However, I think that my favorite films of the event were the short films.  All of them were very well done—specifically Voûte plantaire.  It is about 

“ [A] rich, orthopedic surgeon [that] has decided to end his life.  Unfortunately, his plans are thwarted when he meets Julie and Camille, two young sisters who come out of nowhere and show him a very different outlook on life.”

What started as a normal, semi-comical film (drama-edy), became weirder and twisted (in a good way, sparking more interest) making the story more complex as the film progressed.  What made this film great was the ending!  I won’t give anything away, but it was like a complete 180, pulling a Chris Nolan Memento-esque moment.  My review, in one word, Brilliant! I love movies like this that make you ponder the unknowns and the “what ifs” like Run, Lola, Run or Sliding Doors.

Another favorite was a short comedy called It is MiracuľHouse.  It is about a man whose mother is in the hospital and she wants to be examined by Dr. House, from the TV show House.  Her son desperate to cure her finds a look alike, Stéphane Freiss, to imitate Hugh Laurie as Dr. House.  A terrific comedy with a genius cast made for a very enjoyable story. 

I enjoyed all of these films so much because their underlying stories translate in any language.  Love, desperation, happiness, acceptance, loss, comedy so on and so forth, are all emotions that anyone can understand and relate to. 

I am very much looking forward to this year’s Film Festival and cannot wait to see the short films 🙂 !


*film synopsis gathered from last years program*