6 January 2017.
NOCTURNAL ANIMALS ***
There is a great sadness and feeling of loss in this second film by Tom Ford. It is a different tale, but with the same sombre mood as his last (award-winning) film, “A Single Man”. As usual with this famed couturier, there’s also that air of elegant ennui and a perfect control of his craft, be it in clothes or in film.
And here he has meticulous control, brilliantly edited, for this is really two films in one – the first, the rich world of an unhappy art gallery owner, the other a mix of low-life characters in the violent thriller she is reading, written by her first husband. The two worlds merge in unexpected ways.
Since Ford has also written the script, picked a slew of top-notch actors including Amy Adams and Jake Gyllenhaal, plus producing this film which won a Silver Lion at the Venice Film festival, it is completely his baby. An artistically made, twisted creation that both intrigues and disturbs.
The fictional realm intrudes upon the real world of this lonely career woman (a superb Adams) as she reminisces about her past choices with both husbands. It could be interpreted as a personal film from a highly successful man questioning the value of his career and the paths taken in life. Even though it is based on a book entitled “Tony and Susan” by Austin Wright, it nevertheless feels like the musings of an intellectual artist in search of a raison d’être, an expression of his very existence. Gripping, troubling, thought-provoking.
LA VALLÉE DES LOUPS ***1/2 (vo French)
This documentary by and about Jean-Michel Bertrand’s passionate two-year quest for wolves in the mountains and valleys of the French Alps is both captivating and hypnotic. The mixture of the man’s down-to-earth, whispered narration, the pulsing music that urges us along and the glorious vistas make this work majestic and haunting.
I am not an outdoors person, but this film gave me an incredible feeling and respect for nature. It is simply breathtaking both on a very personal level and with a panoramic view of life in the wild, including the glorious changing of the seasons.
This intrepid mountain man is a sort of French Jeremiah Johnson – remember Robert Redford’s film back in 1972? Bertrand is a lover and protector of nature – a solitary, single-minded ecologist. And an excellent filmmaker.
Superb **** Very Good *** Good ** Mediocre * Miserable – no stars
Neptune Ravar Ingwersen reviews film extensively for publications in Switzerland. She views 4 to 8 films a week and her aim is to sort the wheat from the chaff for readers.