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An Afternoon of French Cinema

The Alliance Francaise de Cebu brings five French films to the local cinemas as they have done for the past years and this time admission is still free. This year, the films are an eclectic mix from comedy, drama and adventure each with different themes and tones.

Here are the five films on the playlist:

1.) Le Marquis (The Marquis)

This movie, I think was chosen because it was filmed here in Cebu City, the city where I was born and grew up, and Lapu-Lapu City. This tells the story about two thieves, one professional Quentin who screwed up in his latest heist and owes his boss money and the other an accidental one, a former security alarms sales man, Thomas who was fired and out of desperation robs the house of a boxer client whom, he thought was out-of-town, punches him to jail. Thomas then gains notoriety in prison due to circumstances out of luck and calls himself “Le Marquis” which garners him infamous. Two weeks before he was about to be released, Quentin kidnaps him from prison thinking that he could pull of a great robbery in Manila, not knowing that Thomas is not the mastermind as his fame claims. The film then tackles humor and funny situations in mistaken identities and pulling of a crime. The script has plenty of laughs and gags in between but this movie does not seem distinctly French. The premise is remotely similar to latest Hollywood heist movies. The film is just average at most.

6 out of 10 stars

2.) Arthur and the Revenge of the Maltazard

This was kind of let down since it’s only inclusion among this years roster because it was produced by Luc Besson and the audio was in English. The movie is a follow-up to Arthur and the Minimoys based from the best-selling children’s book featuring Freddie Highmore, Mia Farrow with voices of Selena Gomez among others. A kiddie adventure which involves fairies, insects and other creatures which I did not find at all interesting. But what’s outstanding about this feature is the smooth transition from live action to CG graphics and the animation was at par with Hollywood’s finest. This was my least favorite film among the bunch.

5 out of 10 stars

3.) Les Enfants de Timpelbach (Trouble at Timpelbach)

This allegorical film which has some similarities to “Lord of the Flies” is about a tiny village, Timpelbach, in which the children have been getting mischievous and behaving badly by playing pranks on each other not even sparing animals and have been resistant to authority. The parents then decided to leave the village for a day to teach the kids a lesson but their initial plan had gone awry when they were captured by people from a different village thinking they were invaders. The children meanwhile had the time of their lives until they realized that they have to stand on their own and fend for themselves. They then started a community and a gang war then ensued. This film was very adorable because of the charming child actors who carry the film well and were very competent and up to the challenge. Very entertaining and hilarious!

8 out of 10 stars

4.) Un Poison Violent (Love Like Poison)

Anna is a fourteen year old girl, intoxicated with all the raging hormones of puberty and confused. Her father just left her and her mother along with her chronically ill paternal grandfather. Anna with a strong Catholic upbringing begins to question and doubt everything she believes in as she grows close to Pierre, a childhood friend who shows romantic feelings as she prepares for her confirmation in a week’s time. All throughout the film we are presented with how Anna deals with adolescence and her sexual awakening, keeping her faith and romantic feelings. This is the best among the five, as the character development was splendid and the script was impeccably written. Even the supporting characters were well constructed along with the issues and complexities of their personas and skillfully portrayed by the actors. This movie is about battling personal demons and holding on to anything that keeps you going in life.

8.5 out of 10 stars

5.) Dans les cordes (Inside the Ring)

This is about a family who runs a boxing club and cousins Angie and Sandra who are both boxers and are tied to something more than what they were raised as. This is not just another boxing movie as it is full of back stories and family dramas that intertwined along with the girls as they trained to become great boxers. This is also a great film – wonderful script, intense camera work, gripping fight scenes but the movie still has a couple of plot holes not sorted out as it ended. Brilliant acting among the cast members.

7 out of 10 stars.

This year the films were average as I have seen better French and foreign films. It would have been better if they showed films from Luc Besson or Francois Ozon. Or better yet some movies starring Marion Cottilard, Catherine Deneuve or Guillaume Canet. Or perhaps movies like Love Me If You Dare, Chansons D’ Amour, The Class… But hey you can’t complain since it is free. And  like cinephiles like me are thankful to such organizations for bringing a touch of French culture to our tropical environment. Till next year.

Watch those films: If French foreign films are your interests and to those looking for a weekend trip that’s different and cheap. Do I have to repeat that admission is FREE? All you need to do is line up.

Do not watch those films: If you are expecting amazing French films and if you are in a summer blockbuster state of mind.

French Film Festival in Cebu is from June 23 – 25, 2011. For schedules check this out:

http://everythingubec.blogspot.com/2011/06/16th-french-film-festival-in-cebu.html

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About curlysweatyboy

Movies.TV.Music.Books.Pop Culture

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