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Saturday, June 2, 2007

They Have Faces: Part Two

posted by on June 2 at 13:30 PM

Here are five more great faces featured in
this year’s film festival. Click here for part one.


Marion Cotillard: Edith Piaf in La Vie en Rose, i.e. La Môme (The Kid). It’s inevitable the film would be re-titled La Vie en Rose for English-speaking territories, but “Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien” is the Sparrow’s defining number. In fact, it’s the movie’s message, i.e. Piaf had a tough life, but given the choice, she wouldn’t change a thing.

Olivier Dahan, one of this year’s Emerging Masters, will be at today’s 3:15pm screening at the Neptune. I caught last night’s showing, and felt that Cotillard fully justified the hype. Dahan’s portrait has its problems, but her remarkable performance reduces most of them
to rubble. La Vie en Rose opens at the Egyptian on 6/22.


Cotillard as a femme fatale in A Very Long Engagement, for which she won the César, the French version of the Oscar. Did the make-up team on La Vie en Rose do a fantastic job or what? It takes some effort to make Cotillard look unattractive (or at least frail and sickly).


Louis Garrel: Dans Paris. Louis is the son of director Phillipe Garrel and the grandson of actor Maurice Garrel. Alas, I found Dan Paris fairly irritating, despite decent performances from Garrel—doing his best Jean-Pierre Leaud impression—and Molière's Romain Duris.

It's too bad SIFF didn't program Phillipe's Regular Lovers. It covers
the same ground as Bernardo Bertolucci's The Dreamers, but French critics have proclaimed it the superior effort. Click here for information about the recent New York film series Generation Garrel. Dans Paris plays Lincoln Square Cinemas on 6/3 and SIFF Cinema on 6/7.

Fun fact: According to the IMDb, Phillipe Garrel lived
with Velvet Underground vocalist Nico for 10 years.


Garrel and Clotilde Hesme in Regular Lovers.


Tony Leung Chiu Wai: Confession of Pain (from the makers of Infernal Affairs). You may also recognize him from Wong Kar-wai's Happy Together, In the Mood for Love, and 2046. If he's given a
bad performance, I've yet to see it. Confession of Pain plays
Lincoln Square Cinemas on 6/13 and the Neptune on 6/15.


Leung in 2046. One of the most beautiful movie stills ever—
if you're into acid green, that is (holla, Christopher Doyle!).


Joe Odagiri: Mushishi, Retribution, and Sway. Wikipedia notes that Odagiri is "known for unusual hairstyle" [sic]. You may also recognize the actor/pop star/teen idol from past SIFF selections, like Azumi, Bright Future, and Princess Raccoon (Retribution was directed by Bright Future's Kiyoshi Kurosawa, a former Emerging Master).

Mushishi plays Lincoln Square Cinemas on 6/8 and the Egyptian
on 6/10, Retribution plays Pacific Place on 6/8 and Lincoln
Square Cinemas on 6/10, and Sway plays Lincoln Square Cinemas
on 6/7 and the Harvard Exit on 6/9. Thanks to Bill for the tip.


Margo Martindale: Paris, Je T'aime and Rocket Science. It's something about the twinkle in her eyes. Plus, she's a terrific actress. Rocket Science plays the Neptune on 6/2 and Lincoln Square Cinemas on 6/4 (director Jeffrey Blitz and star Reece Thompson will be in attendance). Paris, Je T'aime is currently playing at the Seven Gables. Though Charles gave it a thumbs-down, I quite liked this shorts anthology, especially the films by Gurinder Chadha (Quais De Seine), Gus Van Sant (Le Marais), Oliver Schmitz (Place des Fêtes), and Alexander Payne (14ème Arrondissement with Martindale).

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About La Vie En Rose:

I would describe the film as inspiring intense pity. The director was playing, not too successfully, with the time line, jumping back and forth across the different stages of her life. Still, I thougt the film, with its vivid images and superb acting, managed to convey the core essence of Piaf's tragic life.

As a child, Piaf was practically discarded by her parents and grew up among the prostitutes in her grandmother's bordello. At 14, she was reclaimed by her father, a street performer, who needed her as an assistant. What comes across about her childhood is a chaotic, insecure, unstable existence, among a group of equally insecure, expoilted, dispensable women. That aura of perpetual haze and pathetic vulnerability never quite leaves her, to her dying day. If anything, I think this is the great achievement of the film: that it manages to sustain her fragility and bewilderment, throughout her career, even as she enjoys world fame. It's almost like watching a Puccini opera, with the heartbreaking irresistibility of great beauty and profound sadness.

The actress who plays Piaf is prettier and taller than Piaf ever was, though she is made to look plain and haggard towards the end of her life. Piaf was very small and thin, a waif of a woman.

And of course, Paris is as much a character in this film as any of Piaf's entourage of loyal friends.

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Posted by Bill | June 12, 2007 12:35 PM


Posted by Bill | June 12, 2007 12:36 PM


Posted by Bill | June 12, 2007 12:36 PM

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