24 July 2020.
RICHARD SAYS GOODBYE (The Professor) *1/2
It hurts to say that Johnny Depp’s latest film is a disappointment, because I’m one of his biggest fans. From “Edward Scissorhands” to “Donnie Brasco”, “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”, “Sweeney Todd” or the raucous, delightful “Pirates of the Caribbean”, he could embody any character, illuminate any theme, from whimsical to murderous.
Unfortunately no one can save a shallow script, not even Depp. And that is what we have here in this tragicomedy that trivializes a college professor’s discovery that he has just a few months to live. So he becomes a sort of party animal and tries to live it up, drastically changing his attitude towards his students. This could have been a marvel of a film if there were any depth to its characters or real understanding of the grave situation.
Go ahead and see it if you’re curious, but if you’re looking for a truly fine film, it’s coming next week and it’s called “Hope Gap” – a sublime dissection of a marriage falling apart, starring Annette Bening and Bill Nighy. More on that later.
LE SEL DES LARMES *** (vo French)
This tale of the amorous adventures of a young man who comes to Paris from the provinces to attend a prestigious carpentry school is a singular anomaly from the eminent director Philippe Garrel. Filmed in black and white, its simplicity is reminiscent of the Nouvelle Vague school of the late 1960s and the devil-may-care, free-flowing reality of les choses de la vie. More French than this it doesn’t get.
Partly autobiographical, it relates the trajectory of the young man’s discovery of love in its many facets, with three different girls, none of whom he wishes to hurt, but whom he treats quite cavalierly, in fact irresponsibly. But the constant thread through these various encounters is his tender, respectful love for his old father.
The angel-faced newcomer Logann Antuofermo is the perfect foil for this unintentional rake, as are the rest of the cast in their utter clarity. Quite a touching revelation.
(Showing at the Grutli Cinemas)
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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.