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Lorna’s Silence-Movie Review 03/21/2014

Posted by Films to consider in Action/Thriller, Belgian/French language film, Cannes Film Festival, César Awards, Drama, Emotional Drama, European Film Awards, Jean-Pierre Dardenne, Luc Dardenne, Lumière Awards, Movies, Suspense, Toronto Film Critics Association Awards.
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LORNA’S SILENCE (Belgian/French) 2008
Le silence de Lorna

Written and directed by Jean-Pierre Dardenne and Luc Dardenne
Starring Arta Dobroshi, Jérémie Renier, Fabrizio Rongione, and Alban Ukaj

WINNER, Best Screenplay and NOMINATED, Palme d’Or (Dardenne & Dardenne), Cannes Film Festival
NOMINATED, Best Foreign Film (Dardenne & Dardenne), César Awards
NOMINATED, Best Actress (Dobroshi), European Film Awards
WINNER, Best French Language Film (Dardenne & Dardenne), Lumière Awards
NOMINATED, Best Actress (Dobroshi), Toronto Film Critics Association Awards

Lorna (Dobroshi) a young Albanian woman, is in a scheme to make money and create a new life with her boyfriend. She agrees to a fake marriage to Claudy (Renier), a heroin junkie in Belgium. After she becomes a Belgian citizen, the junkie will no longer be necessary. Lorna, as you might expect, is in cahoots with some very shady characters, and they won’t let their plan go awry.

The movie’s ending is unforeseen, and while it ends this part of Lorna’s story in a satisfactory way, her overall plight is unresolved. Her emotional turmoil remained so intriguing I could have watched part two.

105 min. Rated R.


The Chorus-Movie Review *** 06/01/2012

Posted by Films to consider in Academy Awards, César Awards, David di Donatello Awards, Drama, French language film, Golden Globes, Highly recommended, Lumière Awards.
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The Chorus (French) 2004 ***
Les choristes

Directed by Christophe Barratier
Starring Gerard Jugnot, Jean-Paul Bonnaire, Marie Bunel, François Berléand, and Jean-Baptiste Maunier

Among many other awards and nominations:
NOMINATED, Best Music in Feature Film; Best Foreign Language Film of the Year, Academy Awards
WINNER, Best Music; Best Sound; NOMINATED, Best Actor (Jugnot); Best Director (Barratier); Best Film (Barratier); Best First Film (Barratier); Best Design; Best Supporting Actor (Berléand), César Awards, France
NOMINATED, Best European Film (Barratier), David di Donatello Awards, Italy
NOMINATED, Best Foreign Film (Barratier), Golden Globes
WINNER, Best Film (Barratier), Lumiere Awards, France

In post-war France, Clément Mathieu (Jugnot) takes on a new job teaching music at Fond de L’Etang, a school for incorrigible boys. Mild-mannered but tough, Clement has an unusual approach – he teaches the boys to sing. One in particular, Pierre Morhange (Maunier) has a special talent. Although Clement soon finds himself on the outs with the cruel Principal Rachin (Berléand), he finds solace in the knowledge that he has played a role in helping Pierre’s talent get recognized.

This was the first film for director Christophe Barratier, and it met with much critical acclaim. The lyrics of the Academy Award-nominated song “Look to Your Path” (Vois sur ta chemin) were written by Barratier. The film’s story line is certainly not unique, but it is definitely worth seeing. Besides outstanding acting by all parties, the music is absolutely beautiful, as is Jean-Baptiste Maunier’s angelic voice.

Favorite line: Action – reaction! (Principal Rachin’s chilling modus operandi for punishment)

Highly recommended.

97 min. Rated PG-13 for language, sexual references and violence


Lady Chatterley-Movie Review 04/29/2012

Posted by Films to consider in Étoiles d'Or, César Awards, France, Independent Spirit Awards, Lumière Awards, Pascale Ferran, Tribeca Film Festival.
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Lady Chatterley (French) 2006
Based on the D.H. Lawrence novel, John Thomas and Lady Jane

Directed by Pascale Ferran
Starring Marina Hands, Jean-Louis Coullo’ch, Hippolyte Girardot, Hélène Alexandridis and Hélène Fillières

Among several other awards and nominations:
WINNER, Best Actress (Hands); Best Adapted Screenplay; Best Film (Ferran); Best Cinematography; NOMINATED, Best Director (Ferran); Best Sound, César Awards
NOMINATED, Best Foreign Film (Ferran), Independent Spirit Awards
WINNER, Best Actress (Hands); Best Director (Ferran), Lumière Awards, France
WINNER, Best Actress (Hands), Tribeca Film Festival
WINNER, Best Film (Ferran); Best Female Newcomer (Hands), Étoiles d’Or

As only the French can do, a very long but still entertaining story about the sensual awakening of a young woman in a repressed marriage. This film is based on a lesser-known version of D.H. Lawrence’s well-known story.

Faced with her husband’s paralysis due to a war injury, the young Lady Constance Chatterley (Hands) finds an unlikely connection with Parkin (Coullo’ch), the rough-hewn, somewhat oafish gamekeeper on the Chatterley’s idyllic country estate. As noted in the awards above, both the cinematography and the sound contribute much to the sensuality of the story, and make the couple’s tender love for each other more believable.

160 min. Nudity; sexual content and adult themes.