Fairly early on, I realized the camera was never going to accompany Eve (the incredible Gabriela Cartol) outside of the luxury hotel where she works. She goes home at the end of her shift, we know, but we don't get to go with her. We're as trapped as she is. And I think it's this that makes The Chambermaid so brilliant. In any other variation on the story, we'd follow Eve home through dark Mexico City streets, into her tiny…
Cassandre is content to bottle up her emotions as tightly as the jet plane full of passengers she serves as a flight attendant for a budget European airline. The phoney corporate mask suits her, at least until she's forced to train for a promotion to cabin manager. During a subsequent flight, she's tasked with managing a troubled passenger, when her innate sympathy and kindness of heart lead her to defy strict corporate policy, resulting in a suspension of her employment.…
I guess I'm a Michel Franco fan now. It's pretty much what I love. Slow, static, and observational.
But the patented Franco schtick, at least so far as I've seen it, with the measured, even modulated reveals, needs a degree more breadth than this scenario can give. David always feels too far ahead of what is revealed, and we can comprehend.
I kinda love the premise, though, and Tim Roth can do no wrong, so I'm easily on board.
I simply love this. Franco's reveals are perfectly restrained. Like juice from compressed fruit, they're timed within an inch of their lives, and arrive with precision. The overall scent of langour, indifference and fatalism is that same fruit fermented. While I think New Order never rises from its own pretense, with Sundown, Franco nails the revelatory nature of his protagonist's surrender, and the awful cost of his indifference.
All of Akerman condensed into a single pristine hour. Michèle yearns for connection, but can’t pretend it will ever come easily to her. Defying all conventions and restraints, she presses out into the world, alone. Like so many Akerman protagonists, the more Michèle interacts with others, the more solitary she becomes. The simultaneous experiences of pain and happiness, of proximity and distance, of brightness and gloom, Akerman bestows on Michèle, played pitch-perfect by Circé Lethem. Other than Chantal herself, no…
I really do love the flat, static tableau style of Breillat’s visual composition. It resembles precisely the mental imagery of a young girl envisioning a faery tale (I imagine). As a feminist retelling of the old French yarn, the female characters are just as accountable for their own captivity as the blue-bearded ogre (played to forlorn perfection by Dominique Thomas), if not more so.
The women and girls condemn themselves and one another as sacrificial virgins, setting traps they then…