27 August 2021.
EIFFEL **** (vo French)
This is the fascinating story of the man who built the most famous landmark of Paris. The engineer Gustave Eiffel had just collaborated on the Statue of Liberty, and was being encouraged to create something as spectacular for the 1889 World’s Fair that was to take place in Paris.
This film does justice to both the grand, turbulent love story that inspired him to great heights and his own brilliant perfectionism and guts that propelled him to reach his quite incredible vision for that era.
Beautifully conceived by director Martin Bourboulon, with bold cinematography, the sublime music of Alexandre Desplat, and an excellent casting of Romain Duris as Eiffel and the statuesque Emma Mackay as his great love, this is classic filmmaking that satisfies fully, both historically and emotionally.
Due to Covid restrictions in France, it seems the film’s release has been postponed to October.
There’s nothing quite like memories of past loves and special moments in one’s life. “Nostalgia never goes out of style”…says Hugh Jackman’s character about his esoteric business in this futuristic tale based in a drowning, apocalyptic Miami.
As he recounts his own memory of falling in love with a beautiful stranger, we are mesmerized. This film, directed by Lisa Joy, looks like the sort of film we’d like to live in, for memories are so much a part of us all. Unfortunately, it cannot decide whether it’s a mysterious romance, a futuristic thriller or just a lot of chasing and fighting (in a bid to bring in a younger audience perhaps). As you can’t satisfy everyone all of the time, it loses momentum and interest, and just dwindles away into some sort of oblivion, especially when Jackman gets into his fight mode. It’s already a cloudy memory in my mind. Too bad.
FRANCE *1/2 (vo French)
When I first heard of this film, I thought it was about the country. Well, it is not. It’s about France de Meurs, a hugely successful TV journalist who seems to have everything, yet is quite miserable. Maybe she is supposed to represent the country’s malaise. Who knows what director Bruno Dumont is thinking, for he just continues in his strange style of artificial cinematography, banal dialogue, wooden acting, jarring music, and using his actors like puppets. As he did with his last mishap, “Jeanne”, about Jeanne D’Arc, which for some baffling reason won an award at the 2019 Cannes festival. But then didn’t the sick sexploitation “Titane” run off with the Palme d’Or this year?!
Anyway, back to his latest. It’s pretentious, cold and lacks humanity in any of the characters. And oh, those lingering soap opera looks and constant tears that we have to endure from Lea Seydoux as the depressed super star. Her husband doesn’t help, either, for he’s another egoistic nonentity, as is the miserable young lover she acquires at some frozen mountain resort. Is she a fake and just ambitious, or is she really a lost soul in the terrible straightjacket of fame? And do we really care?
Dumont seems to get away with all this dull ambiguity, as he has somewhere along the way been anointed as a favorite son amongst the Francophone critics. Supposedly known as an iconoclast, the only thing he keeps breaking is our expectation of a good film.
ATTENTION AU DEPART ** (vo French)
Here’s another silly French comedy that they keep churning out, though this one is lucky to have the always talented Andre Dussollier as an incorrigibly charming, unreliable grandfather who ends up missing the train full of kids which he and another dimwit of a father (Jérôme Commandeur) are supposed to be chaperoning on a school trip.
It’s foolish and fun, quite hectic and not bad for a family outing.
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.