THE STORY OF MY WIFE (Histoire de ma femme) ***1/2
A dashing sea captain, a mysterious beauty, a strange story about daring to “marry the first woman who walks in that door”, magnificently filmed by an award-winning Hungarian director – what more would you want from a turbulent, romantic drama set in 1920s Europe?
The attractive sea captain is played by Dutch actor, Gijs Naber, well-known and highly-awarded in his country. The wife is played by the multifaceted French actress, Lea Seydoux, James Bond’s last love. Director/writer Ildiko Enyedi was previously president of the Hungarian Director’s Guild and has been making films since 1979.
This, her latest work, was in the Competition lineup at last year’s Cannes Film Festival and was a favorite for the Palme d’Or. She won a Golden Bear for her previous film, “On Body and Soul” at the 2017 Berlin Film Festival.
The strong acting, the fascinating characters, the lush, almost architectural cinematography, the haunting music score and a story that keeps you wondering what comes next, all make it an exceptionally romantic and mystifying tale. Its three-hour length goes by in a dream, as it tends to almost bewitch you in its intensity of intermingling lives. No, it is not a rose-colored romance – it is provocative and different.
EN CORPS *** (vo French)
Cedric Klapisch is one of France’s most diversified and popular directors. Writing and making films since the mid-1980s, he often zeroes in on multiple characters and their relationships, with both humor and a deep understanding of their psyches. One of his most popular was “L’Auberge Espagnole” from 2002, about an international group of students who meet as flatmates in Barcelona. He also directed the early episodes of the highly successful French TV series “Dix Pour Cent”, made famous as “Call your Agent” on Netflix.
In this film, he has chosen to enter the world of dance, mingling ballet and contemporary dance, about a young ballet star whose life changes when she has a serious accident and can no longer perform. Her life is at its lowest ebb, with a lost love, a strangely aloof father and a seemingly failed future as far as her career is concerned. But some chance encounters and a job at an art colony give her new hope and a renewed prospect when she meets Hofesh Schecter, the renowned Israeli choreographer and director of the Schecter Dance Company.
Once again Klapisch takes us into the life of a group that is welcoming and supportive.
It’s the story of a girl finding her way, set against thrilling shots of utterly innovative and exciting contemporary dance.
As it often happens in life, new discoveries merge in the strangest ways. I had just seen this film at a press screening, and then came upon a poster in front of the Geneva Opera House about performances of this company here in our city, at the BFM. Their piece, called “Double Murder”, by the very same Schecter Dance Company was here in late March, and of course I went.
It was magnificent – powerful, hypnotic and incredibly fluid. The dancers seemed to melt into each other, at times aggressive, murderous, then loving and amusing – probably a mirror of what life is all about.
As their brilliant live performance has come and gone, run to this film instead – if you appreciate great talent.
VOUS NE DÉSIREZ QUE MOI **1/2 (vo French)
This film is mainly for diehard fans of Marguerite Duras, the controversial, enigmatic French writer and filmmaker. It is an interview with Yann Andrea, one of her last lovers who was not only less than half her age, but also a homosexual. That was the power she had over mere mortals.
Showing the static and tortured musings of a man completely trapped by love, with some clips of Duras in her usual elusive manner and some intimate drawings of her and Andrea, it is directed by Claire Simon and has Swann Arlaud as Andrea and Emmanuelle Devos as the interviewer. Reminiscent of “My Dinner with Andre” by Louis Malle, it is simply a conversation piece.
SONIC THE HEDGEHOG 2 *
Who does Hollywood make these films for?! This half-animated, half-human catastrophe is supposed be for kids, but it’s full of violence, stupidity and continuous destruction, all in the name of a wannabe hero, the hedgehog.
It should have a 14-year-old rating, though it’s too childish for that age and too disturbing for the young ones. It’s as though they’re creating mini-Putins – keep your little kids away. Why make such a film? Oh yes, money.
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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.