• Yella

    Yella

    ★★★½

    I am fascinated by the way Christian Petzold can address diverse and complex themes from what seem to be simple and even familiar storylines. In Yella we find a reflection on the past that refuses to perish, that continues to manifest itself, and is part of a cycle that we are unable to break. Furthermore, it is a critique of contemporary German society and the voracious business world, and even a metaphor for Germany's recent history. It is perhaps not…

  • Three Floors

    Three Floors

    ★★★★

    Nanni Moretti's latest film tells the stories and conflicts of three middle class families living in a building in Rome. It is a film about human relationships and specifically about family ties, complex and imperfect, as well as emotional baggage, guilt and regret. The Italian director makes a piece of work that reveals the drama of ordinary life and individuals constantly struggling with their obsessions, fears and frustrations. Tre Piani is a bittersweet melodrama like life itself.

  • Morvern Callar

    Morvern Callar

    ★★½

    A turbulent journey of self-discovery during a crucial stage in the life of a young person. The desperate cry of a decadent, self-destructive youth and their tireless, perhaps false and illusory, search for an absolute freedom away from a miserable life. Ramsay composes the portrait of an indecipherable young woman, of nihilism and indifference, with bleak poetry. I found the beginning of the film intriguing and promising but that, and Samantha Morton's excellent performance, was simply not enough to hold my interest for too long.

  • Amen.

    Amen.

    ★★★½

    Unlike many other films about the Second World War and the Holocaust, Amen. chooses to move away from the battlefields and extermination camps to focus on the figure of Kurt Gerstein, an officer of the Schutzstaffel and his attempt to denounce the genocide of the Jewish people to the international community. At the same time, Costa-Gavras points to the passivity and hypocrisy of the Catholic Church, which opted for a "diplomatic" stance in the face of the atrocities committed by…

  • The Friends

    The Friends

    ★★★½

    The search for identity and a place in the world seem to be the main themes of this drama by Gérard Blain, a French actor best known for his work in Claude Chabrol's Le Beau Serge and Les Cousins. Paul is an attractive young man whose life seems to be aimless, searching for love and intimacy, enjoying the pleasures of a bourgeois life where he does not belong, experiencing disenchantment and betrayal, all the while taking refuge in the comfort…

  • A Man Escaped

    A Man Escaped

    ★★★

    Bresson painstakingly chronicles a true story about a man planning his escape from a prison in German-occupied France during the Second World War. It is a story, as the director himself points out, without ornamentation, where he presents the monotony of prison life, its suffocating routine and the will of the human spirit in the face of adversity. It is a perfectly executed exercise, but due to its simplicity, coldness and distance, I have to say that I found it…

  • Happening

    Happening

    ★★★★

    Anne lives in a small conservative town in early 1960s France. An intelligent and sensitive young woman, she has her life ahead of her and wants to go to university, but she has become pregnant. Without any support, as abortion is heavily criminalised and stigmatised, she will have to rely on her strength and conviction to get out of this desperate situation. Uncomfortable, outrageous and brutally realistic, L'événement is a plea on behalf of women and their choice not only…

  • Lost Illusions

    Lost Illusions

    ★★★½

    Xavier Giannoli adapts a story by Honoré de Balzac about the rise and fall of a promising and ambitious young poet who leaves his hometown for the promise of achieving his dreams but is ultimately consumed by the big city. It is a visually impeccable film that does not hide its literary origins and gives a familiar story a tragic and intense nineteenth-century air. In parallel, and perhaps more interestingly, it explores the relationships between journalism, critique, public opinion, the…

  • OSS 117: From Africa with Love

    OSS 117: From Africa with Love

    ★★½

    Jean Dujardin delivers his usual charisma and allure, but this time that is simply not enough to compensate for the film's many shortcomings. OSS 117: Alerte Rouge en Afrique Noire is the weakest of the trilogy starring Dujardin. It's just not as witty, funny nor as irreverent as its predecessors, the story unfolds too slowly, the ending is abrupt and, perhaps most regrettably, Pierre Niney's talent is underused. On the positive side, there are some funny gags and the criticism…

  • Asterix & Obelix: God Save Britannia

    Asterix & Obelix: God Save Britannia

    ★★½

    Two warriors from ancient Gaul venture to the British Isles to fight against Julius Caesar and the Roman army in this film adaptation of the famous French comic books. Astérix & Obélix : Au service de Sa Majesté has a very French sense of humour, and a good dose of mockery of the British, and which does not pretend to be anything other than simple entertainment. However, despite some amusing moments, its weaknesses are perhaps hard to overlook as it is inconsistently scripted, overlong and even a little boring. It is the work of the star-studded cast that ensures that this is not a complete waste.

  • The Takedown

    The Takedown

    Stereotypical characters, predictable story, decent action scenes, a bit vulgar, and with frenetic editing that gets a bit tiring. Loin du périph is a rather absurd comedy that works solely because to the chemistry between Omar Sy and Laurent Lafitte and that also attempts to point to some of the problems of modern France (racism, xenophobia, and their relation to far-right politics) that to a large extent spread throughout Europe nowadays. To be honest, and despite a couple of funny bits like the go-kart chase, it's a totally unnecessary sequel.

  • Eiffel

    Eiffel

    ★★★

    Those looking for an in-depth look at the life and work of the famous French engineer or a detailed account of a fascinating achievement by man are likely to be disappointed. Eiffel is loosely inspired by real events, but it is not even a conventional biopic as we never really get to know the protagonist, it seems more like a piece of historical fiction that uses the figure of a prominent character to make something epic. In essence, the film…