IIM Calcutta

French

A Very Long Engagement – ‘Never let go’


Poster for 'A very long engagement'By Subhrojyoti Mondal

Rotten Tomatoes rating – 78%
Two Academy Award nominations (Art Direction and Cinematography)
One Golden Globe nomination (Best Foreign Language Film)

This movie has been considered one of the best among Janet’s masterpieces. Category wise it’s a romantic war epic movie, based in Somme, a remote village of post-world war France. A physically challenged girl, Mathilde (Audrey Totou), loses her fiancée Manech (Gaspard Ulliel), in a battle at the ‘No man’s land’ between France and Germany during WWI. Though every single person is convinced of his demise, Mathilde refuses and clings to the last chances of hope that she believes will guide her to her love. Ultimately the movie flows through different interesting incidents to a touching climax.
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Amelie


By Arun Rahim.Amelie

I haven’t seen many French movies before this, but was always lured by how French is spoken. There is always a poetic versatility and romantic touch to it. The character of Amelie played by Audrey Tatou is one which can easily spark a reminiscence in every one of us. Being misdiagnosed with a heart ailment in childhood by her father, she was not sent to school and was alone in childhood. She kept herself occupied with her vivid imagination and developed a shyness that was the outcome of her emotional separation from her father. What is different with Amelie is that all these idiosyncrasies follow her to adulthood where she entertains herself with self-devised fantasies. The external world created in this movie as I have read is very akin to a modern Parisian society in full rigor. Although there is always a scent of romance in the air, Amelie is a love-failure and as before mostly keeps to herself.

She works as a waitress in a restaurant and goes through her daily routines dotted with self-fulfilling fantasies until one day when she made a discovery. This discovery turns out to be her epiphany. It opened a whole new world for her. One where happiness is found in scheming little plans to help others in their lives. Yet Amelie likes working in the background and quietly enjoys the moments of glee that she has been able to gift others. In the midst of all of this Amelie does find that ‘someone’, but her introverted nature turns out to be the spoil sport. The movie is a must watch and I am not revealing more on the storyline.

Audrey Tatou who plays Amelie has given a more than brilliant performance. She personifies Amelie and gives that extra edge and life to the role. It is inevitable that after the movie you simply end up loving the character. The narration was innovative and the pace of the movie was good.Add to that some awesome camera work and music and you get an awesome movie on the whole.


The Science of Sleep


By Mansha Tandon.

The Science of Sleep

Stephane Miroux has an obscure artistic idea: a “disasterology calendar” in which each month is accompanied by a gaudy, child-like pictorial reproduction of a grizzly disaster. His colleagues at the Parisian novelty calendar company where he works are distinctly unimpressed with his colourful drawings of burning planes and earthquakes. Chances are, if the disasterology calendar doesn’t float your boat, nor will this film.

Bernal is remarkably adept (and of course, exquisitely gorgeous) as the chronically shy, whimsical Stephane, a graphic designer of French and Mexican heritage. His mother, who promises to place him in a ‘creative’ job, lures him away from Mexico back to his childhood home in Paris. He develops an ardent passion for his neighbour, Stephanie (Charlotte Gainsbourg, daughter of Serge), who is at once both charmed and repulsed by his eccentric, infantile behaviour. Gainsbourg gives a restrained but natural performance as the slightly idiosyncratic neighbour who is torn by the fluctuating intensity of her feelings.

Stephane has an extremely active dream life, in which he stars in his own show, Stephane TV. His inability to often distinguish between reality and the subconscious populates the already experimental canvas of this film with vividly quirky imagery. Cardboard cars, paper construction sets, and sketchy animation create a striking visual montage as the film dips and swings between the surreal and normal.

Michel Gondry bares his soul to the world with this largely autobiographical, fantastical film: Stephane lives in the same building where Gondry spent his time as a struggling artist for a calendar company. The film plays out the director’s innermost thoughts on the complexity of love, relationships, and dreams in a jumpy, self-deprecating fashion. While the story can be saccharine at times, there are enough inventive, breathtakingly unusual moments to forgive its occasional sentimental twists.

Gondry’s third foray into filmmaking is understandably fraught with high expectations: the spectacular success of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (in which he brought Charlie Kaufman’s screenplay to life) seems almost insurmountable. Perhaps that is why The Science of Sleep appears to be such an act of rebellion – it is a messy, haphazard, confounding concoction of elements that blatantly disregards narrative, form, and function – but ultimately triumphs with its profound originality.