Thursday, 29 July 2010

Smoke and Mirrors. . . .

In the last two weeks I've seen three French movies. I may never see another movie in English again. Having said that, can I wait for the French version of Toy Story 3? Probably not, and that one's a must see. I saw 'Leaving' with the gorgeous francophile, Kristen Scott Thomas (in the game 'Who Would Play Me In The Movie'...I'm having her), Heartbreaker with the uber-gorgeous Roman Duris and then I was lucky enough to go to a screening of 'Gainsbourg' followed by a chat with the oh-so gorgeous director, Joann Sfar, even with his shaven head and broadening waistband, he had me at's the French thing. And the film is great, well I think it's great: funny, poignant and pleasing to the eye, Joann has done a masterful job. He talked of the difficulties of making a movie about France's most iconic icon, national treasure, local hero, enfant terrible and all round artiste, in a funny and frank fashion; of the pleasure of working with Kacey Mottet Klien, who brilliantly plays Serge the boy, and the extraordinary Eric Elmosnino who becomes the Gitanes smoking man-on-a-mission to self-destruct. He also spoke movingly about the tragic loss of the talented, young actress, Lucy Gordon, who committed suicide before the film's release. She artfully conjures up the spirit of Jane Birkin and the passion of her relationship with Serge. The film is dedicated to Lucy.

I have a friend who does a brilliant impression of a French film, she hates foreign films, 'Pourquoi Pascal, pourquoi, pourquoi.......big sigh.....parce que'. I love them for just that reason, that's the joy of the foreign film: the long pauses, random shots, sudden endings. It's all good. And foreign films don't fear the older woman, they're even allowed to have sex. I kid you not, check out 'Leaving' for hot'n'heavy, steamy scenes when the 50 year old Kristen gets her kit off.........

Actually, I'm a sucker for all sorts of movies, there is for me no greater joy than disappearing into the dark to settle down with Pearl & Dean and what's coming soon, before 'the big picture' transports me away from the daily grind, the dodgy boiler and the mounting bills. What greater guilty pleasure is there than a week-day matinee, playing hooky from real life, especially if it's a sunny day, the cardinal sin. When I first moved to LA I hated it, so sort solace in the multiplex at the Beverly Centre, hiding in the dark from the endless fine weather, seeing up to 3 movies a week. It was much cheaper than London so I saw anything and everything: the soft-opening of 'Four Weddings and a Funeral' that became the summer hit, 'Shindler's List' on Fairfax surrounded by real Holocaust survivors, an all singing, all dancing Disney extravaganza at Mann's Chinese on Hollywood for the opening of 'The Little Mermaid'. They love their cinema in LA.

Now, the Everyman Group has taken over all sorts of picture palaces and transformed their battered interiors and shabby, under-stuffed, snap-happy seats, imbued with the musty whiff of so many rain-sodden umbrellas and damp macks, and they've transformed them into emporiums of smoked mirrors and soft furnishings. The sofa cinemas have a bar and waiter service and the most expensive snacks known to man; like an exotic hidden nightclub, in an alley somewhere off La Rue de Realite, the neon light draws you in. I kind of miss my dusty, dim old cinema, but watching a movie on the big screen, sprawled on a velvet sofa, a glass of wine in hand, what could be better.............perhaps a Gitane?

Top tip: Treat yourself to a movie, preferably a matinee.


  1. Your picture palaces sound like fabulous places to spend an afternoon or evening! We have one similar to this in our town that shows independent, international and avant-garde films. And wine is most definitely part of going to those types of movies! Most of the current, popular movies are shown in the large theaters showing 6-8 movies at once.

  2. Wow, I've been having my very own French film fest too! Though I haven't seen Gainsbourg yet - but it's on the list. J'adore Kristin Scott Thomas, she's superb in Leaving, there's one scene when the look in her eye says it all. Brilliant. Spent most of Heartbreaker transfixed by Vanessa Paradis' tiny frame - but found Romain Duris very likeable and charming.
    Have you seen The Beat That My Heart Skipped?

  3. I can't wait to see Gainsbourg. We were going to go this weekend but The Actor's just got a job in South Africa for a week so will have to wait till he's back now. On Monday I discovered how fabulous the Everyman Screen on the Green is now and I am hooked. Leaving is also on my must see list. Have a fantastic weekend xx

  4. This is the most stunning cinema I've ever been in. Pity it was to watch some shit Sylvester Stallone film. I wasn't permitted to take pix in it, so this website will have to suffice.

    The most AMAZING Art Deco interior!

  5. I'm with you - I love French movies. In fact I'd go so far as to say that European films in general I find refreshingly different, and that includes movies made on our home turf here in the UK. I do love Hollywood films but they're almost made to a tried and true formula now with an emphasis on *big* production. You know what to expect, and that's not always a good thing. European films have a freshness and honesty and, dare I say it, more of a focus on the acting. (That's a statement that could get me into trouble). :)

  6. Kristin Scott Thomas is one of my favourite actresses!

  7. Thanks Lady! I've had a horrible morning and now think I need a movie. And a cocktail.


  8. Matinee's are my absolute fav! LA's Arclight cinema is my favorite place to go, so I'll definitely be checking this pic out soon!
    thanks for the sweet comment
    xo tash

  9. All 3 films sound great. Great review, Thanks!
    Now we just have to wait for it to come stateside (and if it is, I am sorry, as my head/body/kidneys are throbbing, from what an idiot nurse identified as "Not a virus, a cold,. go home, by some over the counter (kidney/liver destroying) med.s and if it continues for a week, come back."
    I hate my health care, and the saddest part is that is is bloody expensive!