Saturday, May 10, 2008

Forthcoming film, Sarris, Ann Hornaday

I'm happy to note I'm not the only one who loved Change of Address. Critic Scott Foundas did, too, and he brings good news from L.A.:
Writing about the festival last year, I had admiring words for Change of Address (Changement d’Adresse), the third feature by the 37-year-old actor-writer-director Emmanuel Mouret, who has been tagged by some critics as the most “Rohmerian” (as in French New Wave pioneer Eric) filmmaker of his generation, and who carries that potentially daunting burden gracefully with his witty, insightful portraits of hyperverbal, self-conscious young people falling in and out of love. So, it’s only natural that COLCOA has chosen to screen Mouret’s fourth film, Shall We Kiss? (Un Baiser S’il Vous Plaît), back-to-back with Rohmer’s latest — and reportedly last — feature, The Romance of Astrée and Céladon (Les Amours d’Astrée et de Céladon). Set some 16 centuries apart in time and made by directors who are more than 50 years apart in age, the two films are nevertheless of a piece in their gentle probing of the eternal mysteries of attraction.


The lovers in Shall We Kiss? likewise come to their pairings through generous amounts of destiny and happenstance. The movie begins in Nantes, where a chance encounter between a Parisian fabric designer (Julie Gayet) and a local art restorer (Michaël Cohen) leads to dinner, drinks and nearly to the titular meeting of the lips. But wait, the woman says — first, she must tell a cautionary tale about how a similarly innocent smooch created seismic shifts in the relationships of two other couples. That story then plays out in flashback, with the hangdog Mouret perfectly self-cast as a lovelorn schoolteacher who falls for his best female friend (Virginie Ledoyen), no matter that she’s happily married and he’s dating a beautiful stewardess (played by Change of Address’s ebulliently ditsy Frédérique Bel). I’ll say no more about how it all ends up, except that Mouret marries Rohmer’s visual lucidity and love of smart dialogue to the sort of screwball-comedy antics that wouldn’t have seemed out of place in the films of Lubitsch or Hawks, and he does it all with a beguiling lightness of touch.

I'm putting Never Forever in the "maybe" category, depending on other reviews. O'Hehir seems to love it, but the film sounds like one of those cases of a filmmaker taking a sexy scenario and imbuing it with sadness so she can sell it to the respectable arthouse crowd. That routine is getting old.

Some advice from New York on which films to see in that touring fest of Romanian cinema that's arrived in Chicago at the Gene Siskel Film Center.

Some jerk who attacked the great Sunrise takes some ribbing on behalf of all his kind. (At least, that reading of this post gives me the most satisfaction.)

The "American Cinema" Anniversary Blog-a-Thon: a cool tribute to Andrew Sarris. That book is a bible to me. I'd grab it if my house were on fire.

Ann Hornaday was a finalist for the Pulitzer for criticism this year, and this piece ("My Career Has Fallen But It Can Get Up") nicely combines the smarts of a Gray Lady essayist with the fun pop culture game played (in its better moods) on the discussion boards of imdb (or the pages of Entertainment Weekly).


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