Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Je suis un cinéphile

I watched two French films recently.

Everybody is getting sexed up in this hot to trot French family except the youngest son and after he gets caught  beatin' his baguette in biology class, his mom, a super hot blonde hottie, decides to poke her nose into everyone in the family's sex life.  I thought at first this was going to be one of those Euro incest epics where the hot mom introduces everyone to sex but as the film wore on I was proven wrong.  Everyone does have sex a lot in this film, mom and dad, grandpa and his hot hooker, the adopted daughter and her boyfriend, the oldest son and his bisexual lovers, and finally the youngest son with his semi exhibitionist girlfriend.  And really, that's pretty much the plot, everyone has sex with their partners.  It's all very pretty to look at and kind of hot as well, but it's all essentially fluff.  No deep plot points, no messages, just cute French people having loads of sex.  Not that I'm slamming it, I'm not, the thing is the film is like a Hostess fruit pie, it's very tasty and you enjoy it while you're eating it, but it's not that nutritious and you feel kind of guilty for eating all the empty highly processed sugar drenched calories when you're done with it.  If you're into seeing good looking French people getting it on, you'd do better to look up French porn on your computer, at least that way you'd see the 'full Monty.'

The other French film I watched recently also deals with sex, but not in a lighthearted or sexy way.  The Story of Women tells the story of a woman in Nazi occupied France in WW2.  Her husband is injured and in a hospital and she's not sure if he's coming back or not and she's got two small children to care for, so she ends up becoming an abortionist.  She helps women who feel they've got too many kids already, women who've gotten pregnant while their husbands are in POW camps, and women who the Germans knocked up.  While enjoying the monetary success of her 'favors' she meets and befriends a prostitute.  She allows the prostitute to use a room in her house to entertain her clients in exchange for a cut of the money made.  Things go smoothly until her husband shows back up and she discovers she doesn't find him sexually attractive anymore, so he cuckolds him.  Things then go downhill for her from there. 

This film a a very powerful heartbreaking story about what people will do to survive and thrive under harsh conditions.  Isabelle Huppert is magnificent as the anti heroine of this movie, I say 'anti heroine' because it's hard to like her character since she uses and abuses people on her way to making sure she and her kids are taken care of no matter what.  Huppert is beautiful, brittle, and in the depths of self delusion in this film.  She does whatever it takes to be on top, no matter who she hurts or accidentally kills, it's all about her.  Right up until they execute her for crimes against the state, she thinks that she might still be set free because she's a pretty woman with a tiny bit of talent.  Her delusions are heartbreaking, her relationship with her husband is heartbreaking, the toll her favors take on innocents around her is heartbreaking, and how it all affects her kids is heartbreaking. 

But for all the heartbreak and bad behavior, this film is a must see.  It's haunting and incredibly well acted, shot, and directed.  It's a modern masterpiece.

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