16 June 2023.
CARMEN ***1/2 (vo Spanish and English)
Here’s a musical drama for all those who love dance, dramatic tragedies, cross-border thrillers and just excellent, innovative cinema. This completely transformed version of Bizet’s opera has been brilliantly done by first-time film director Benjamin Millepied, known mainly for his time as head choreographer of the Paris Opera, and as husband of Natalie Portman. Co-writing the scenario with Loïc Barrére and Alexandre Dinelaris Jr., he addresses the contemporary theme of a beautiful young girl on her quest for freedom from Mexico to Los Angeles.
Carmen (the lovely Melissa Barrrera) has to escape the killers of her beloved mother; she is rescued by a former marine (Paul Mescal) who falls in love with her as together they flee the authorities on their way to a hoped-for dreamland. On the way they find refuge in an illusory nightclub run by a magical woman played by Rossy de Palma, Almodovar’s distinctive-looking muse.
It is indeed very different from the famous opera, but there is still passion and crossed destinies in the grand vistas of the parched desert, but above all there is magnificent dance, music and dreamlike sequences that are thoroughly captivating.
Millepied has a bright future in cinema!
THE FLASH ***
There are too many action blockbusters coming at us this summer – rehashed stuff, often too noisy and violent. This one is a delightful relief, for it’s fun, has humanlike heroes, super banter and all the Justice League superstars, including Batman and Superman – making for lots of amusing surprises, which I won’t divulge.
The Flash, enthusiastically played by Ezra Miller, is wonderfully self-deprecating, calling himself the “janitor of the Justice League”. He nevertheless manages to save the dire situation, despite getting into hot water playing with time travel. Directed by Andres Muschietti, it’s both an exciting and wholesome family film, with the Flash becoming my favorite superhero, this year…
SEXYGENAIRES * (vo French)
Despite the talented Thierry Lhermitte’s presence, this film is so badly written, cast (Patrick Timsit is especially annoying) and directed that you should save your time and money.
Here’s another one of those trite French films that keeps their industry running, but pity for the wasted talent, for they can make such excellent ones. For instance, “Le Prénom”, “Alceste à bicyclette”, or “Le meilleur reste à venir” amongst many others with original ideas, very often badly copied by other countries.
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.