La tourneuse de pages (2006)

Last night I saw this picture on the big screen: La tourneuse de pages, or The page turner. It’s a French movie from 2006, with a Belgian actress in the lead: Déborah François.

A talented girl, Mélanie Prouvost  (François) attends a try out to get into the conservatory. She is a very talented piano player, but during the entry exam, she gets distracted by one of the judges, Ariane Fouchécourt (Catherine Frot) – an accomplished concert player, who give out an autograph to an admirer during her exam.

Failing this exam, she decides to never play the piano again.

10 years later, as Mélanie finishes her internship at a law firm, she accepts her boss’ proposition to help out during the holidays and take care of his son, while his wife, a piano concert player, needs to rehearse for an upcoming radio concert…*wink wink*

Very nice movie. Captivating from the beginning till the end. Looks like a very innocent and easy-going story, but, oh my, quite the contrary. Déborah François, with her poise, has a way of suddenly, by a simple look of the eyes and mild gesture, go from an innocent looking girl into a slightly scary stalker. (Though she doesn’t actually play a stalker…)

The vengeance of Mélanie is a subtle one but a very effective one indeed.

Though I’m not disclosing much, because I really don’t want to spoil it for anyone who has not yet discovered this film, it is a perfect vengeance story. With a bitter-sweet after taste. At least, that is what I experienced when leaving the theatre.

Unlike IMDB, I give it a 9/10.

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Rentrée des classes (1956)

A French short movie (his second)by Jacques Rozier .

Beginning of the school year in a small town in the south of France. The boy needs to finish his vacation home work, and seeks out the help of an old man, who of course gets most questions wrong (the old man will be summoned by the teacher later on to get some telling off) .

On his way to this first day of class, the boy is challenged by his classmate to dare throw his school bag in the river from the top of the bridge, which he does of course, for a money reward. But his classmate runs off without paying.

Not daring to go to class without his school bag (with his badly done home work in it), he goes into the river to get it back while the others are already in class. But the boy keeps on swimming in the river even after finding his bag again, marvelling in the beautiful surroundings in the sunshine. He catches a river snake and takes it to plan his vengeance on the classmate who dared him… and this set off some commotion.

I liked this movie just a bit more than Zéro de conduite. The river scenes are beautiful and you almost wish you could as well spend your day without a care in the world in the water, between the tries, in the sunshine, just enjoying the moment.

Zéro de conduite (1933)

Zéro de conduite is a French movie by Jean Vigo.

Summer vacation comes to an end and kids need to return to boarding school, a place without much joy and where the teachers don’t need much to punish you. Or, as the title indicates, give you a zero for bad behaviour. 4 among them decide to rebel, which the new supervisor turns a blind eye to in order for them to succeed.

On the day of the school feast, they put their rebellion to work by turning the school into complete anarchy. With the 4 rebels on the school roof top.

It’s interesting to see movies from the thirties, where child actors seem to be more themselves than actors.

Nice little movie (it’s a short movie in all).

Worth seeing.

Vivre sa vie (1962) – To live one’s life

I recently saw a movie by Godard (on front row of the Nouvelle Vague – a movement in cinema that brought forth a drastic change) called Vivre sa vie.

I found this to be a superb movie. I am pretty much positive about any movie I write about here (bloggers prerogative), but I don’t think I have ever used the word superb.

The way it began. The dialogue was shot with the backs of the characters towards the camera. This went on throughout the whole scene. I never saw that, not to such an extent anyway.

As a viewer you are drawn to the leading lady. She does lead a peculiar life. Divorced from her husband, you see her trying to make it on her own. Kicked out of her lodgings, trying to earn money by meeting men. First you think this is by her own choice, as the title said, living her own life… yet it isn’t really if you pay attention. Of course: falling in love, but not being able to get away from prostitution, by the man who very smartly got her into it. And the ending… well…

It might seem straightforward as story, but it is not shot like that to me. Following her life, almost documentary like, gets you drawn into her world.

Godard was married to the leading lady while filming, Anna Karina. A delight to watch her. And her eyes are hypnotizing.