LES MISERABLES – Review by Susan Granger

This winner of the 2019 Cannes Film Festival Jury Prize and France’s official submission for Oscar’s Best International Feature is, basically, Victor Hugo’s ‘Les Miz’ in the ‘Hood. Co-written and directed by Ladj Ly, who was born and raised in Montfermeil, where Hugo set part of his story, it’s surprisingly relevant in contemporary culture, focusing on a real incident of police brutality.

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PORTRAIT OF A LADY ON FIRE – Review by Diane Carson

Writer/director Céline Sciamma’s Portrait of a Lady on Fire is a haunting examination of love and the restrictions imposed on women by eighteenth-century French society. Artist Marianne is commissioned to paint a portrait of Héloïse, a work solicited by her potential husband in Milan for his approval and acceptance of Héloïse as his wife.

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LES MISERABLES – Review by Diane Carson

French cinema has produced gripping police procedurals. To that group must now be added writer/director Ladj Ly’s Les Misérables, set in the embattled Parisian banlieue (district) Les Bosquets where Victor Hugo located important scenes in his famous 1862 eponymous novel. Les Misérables won the Jury Award at last year’s Cannes Film Festival and is France’s submission for this year’s Best Foreign Film Oscar.

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DILILI IN PARIS – Review by Jennifer Merin

Michel Ocelot’s distinctive style of animation and exposition has a simplicity and fluidity that allows for a beautifully rendered tour of Paris’ well known tourist spots, as well as the introduction of the leading cultural figures of the day and a surprising roster of other cultural references. And, all the while, there’s the mystery of the Male Masters, whose political leanings and agenda are, we learn, threateningly right wing and anti-female.

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VAGABOND (Sans toit ni loi, 1985) – Review by Marilyn Ferdinand

In her 2000 documentary, The Gleaners & I, Agnes Varda examines the historical practice of gleaning the remains of harvests from the fields where they fell and then broadens it to include the salvaging of any refuse. Going back 15 years from this diverting, meditative documentary is Varda’s documentary-like masterwork about another type of refuse, the mysterious and sad Vagabond, a young social castoff named Mona.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK March 23, 2018: MADAME

motw logo 1-35Despite its posh characters and haute Parisian dinner-party-centric premise, “Madame” isn’t just a zinger-filled drawing-room comedy. Rather, director/co-writer Amanda Sthers’ film is a cleverly satirical examination of class, privilege, self worth, and the bone-deep insecurities that plague us all, whether we’re hosting luminaries or serving them coffee. Continue reading…

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