2 December 2022.
GOOD LUCK TO YOU, LEO GRANDE ( Mes rendezvous avec Leo) ****
It never fails with Emma Thompson. Any character she portrays shines with authenticity – from a judge in “The Children Act”, a German wife in “Alone in Berlin”, an Austen damsel in “Sense and Sensibility”, or a lonely housekeeper in “Remains of the Day”. All these and many more of her films have been superb, so download any, if you have missed them.
It is no less with this latest role where she bares all, literally. For the film is about a prudish woman who has never had an orgasm. She had been a religious teacher married to the only man she ever knew in carnal knowledge. Now that she has been a widow for some time she has decided to hire an ‘escort’ to find out what she has been missing all her life.
Such a subject could have been a vulgar comedy or an awful melodrama. It is instead treated beautifully, discreetly, with meaningful conversation rather than a mere romp in the sheets, even though almost all of it takes place in a nondescript hotel room. It reminded me of another excellent film, from France and 1999, called “Une liaison pornographic” starring Natalie Baye and Sergi Lopez, on a similar theme of two strangers meeting in a hotel room, once again not in the least pornographic, but about evolving emotions.
This one has the feel of a theatre play, with intelligent dialogue that cuts deep into the two characters, the male escort played by a handsome, very convincing Daryl McCormak. Directed by the Australian Sophie Hyde, it slowly reveals layers of the feelings and hangups of both parties, letting the audience into the lives of these two individuals who have come together through an escort site.
If you listen and watch fully, you may at the end feel the same release that she finally experiences.
UNTIL TOMORROW (Juste une nuit) *** (vo Farsi)
This Iranian film by Ali Asgari is a modern, urban look at a young single mother whose parents are coming to visit her in Tehran. Her problem is that they don’t know about her illegitimate child, so she must try to find someone to take care of the baby for one night until they leave. The whole film is built upon her desperation, the various lies she creates, and the different people she encounters in her night-long quest to find a place to hide her child in trying to save her reputation with her parents.
The harsh reality of social mores, judgemental attitudes and even a doctor who tries to abuse her (it’s unfortunately an international phenomenon…) is well developed with fine acting and smooth editing that carries it along to the abrupt finale. Well received at the Berlinale and a big winner at the Valencia film festival, its clarity about the clash of contemporary life and traditional values makes this a timely, vibrant drama that feels like a thriller.
(Showing at the Grütli cinemas)
LE TORRENT *1/2 (vo French)
Two fine actors such as José Garcia and André Dussolier cannot save this drawn-out tale of an accident that looks too much like a crime.
Could and should have been as exciting and turbulent as the torrent involved, but a meandering scenario and dull direction make this an unsatisfactory experience. Too bad.
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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.