So far, an impressive crop of new releases. A while back I covered Arnaud Desplechin’s My Golden Days / Trois souvenirs de ma jeunesse, an account of Mathieu Almaric’s past, triggered by the discovery of his passport given to a Jewish refugee years before, and Michel Gondry’s endearing Microbe & Gasoil with the kids hitting the road in the home built timber car. Since then Jaco Van Dormael’s great Le Tout nouveau testament has been up for the Oscar it should have had. The copy of Van Dormael's film in the festival appears to have been slightly modified since the Paris opening which I reported on at the link above. It totally overshadows the other Benoit Poelvoorde movie, Jean Pierre Améris agreeable enough Family for Rent /Une Famille a Louer with isolated rich Benoit hiring Virginie Efira’s battler family to give him the common touch.
The film is is compared to the Dardennes but it connects back earlier, to seventies German arbeiter films like Schneeglöckchen blühen im September (Christian Ziewer, Germany, 1974) or Ken Loach’s hymns to the Unions. Here the focus on the personal is greater and more effective. Convincing minimal production values. Mainly first time actors and technicians producing a grainy long lens look, with some scenes a single take.
The only disappointment I caught was Clovis Cornillac’s director debut Blind Date / Un peu, beaucoup, aveuglement which labors to make a silly premise into an endearing rom com. Cornillac and Melanie Bernier have apartments either side of a wall which transmits any noise. They battle (she wins with an amplified metronome) reconcile and become lovers without physically meeting, before her big piano competition. The people are appealing and the filming is glossy. The audience seemed to swallow it all.
More as I burn through the ten pass.