Sunday, August 31, 2014

Women's Portraits

Orange is the New Black is so poetic.

There’s something so poignant and beautiful about this show and that’s how the writers show us vulnerability. The usual and undeniable human vulnerability. And then the diversity and human flaws. And then you know the rest. Yes, Season 2 is all of this and all of this is, sometimes, poetic.
Sometimes Orange is poetic. It truly is. Because with Orange, you might be in the brink of becoming, I don’t know, skeptical, beginning to think this is nonsense, but then at the end of the scene or the climax of the episode, or a particular line, it hits you with the reality, the truthful honesty, whether we’re talking about Red’s utter fear for someone that turns her almost delusional or blind or even how she fights over her smuggling activity, only for us to realize that what she’s fighting for is something way beyond the apparent. Or Ealy’s delusional agendas that make absolute sense to be shown, because the more his ideas seem completely delusional the more you realize the number of people who think exactly like him and it is pretty essential to have a man actually say this, it is important to remember how ridiculous it all is.
The ultimate gift of this show is that it’s truthful.

(Healy) “Which lesbian is that? – (Pennsatucky) With the fat stomach and the haircut. – Black? She’s, like, the worst one. – No, she’s white. You know you can’t say that shit around here. Trust me… - No. No, no, no. You’re talking about Boo. ‘Black’ is her last name. You should stay away from her. – You think I can’t handle myself? I will say this. She’s got some sick, like tattoos, like her ink. Have you seen it? – That’s how they get you. Being cool, doing cool things, and before you know it, you’re part of their agenda. – What? – You know, you should read this book. It’s called The End of Men. In it they talk about how, pretty soon, men are gonna become irrelevant. Now women are more educated, they’re gonna make more money and pretty much run everything.- Really? – Mmm. Well, then, who would, like, be the President? – Exactly. It’s the lesbians that started this whole thing. They’re making babies out of a tube. That’s why they’re walking around all the time like they’re better. Waiting for us to go obsolete that’s what they’re doing. – No offense, but, uh, men being in charge has never done me any good.”

So poetic.

"Okay, right inside the big ol’ hole there’s another hole. Like a little one. – Wait, what? I thought you said it was a whole other hole. – It’s a hole in a hole. – For the love of God, girls, the hole is not inside the hole..."
Poetic AND pretty historic!

Some Piper face time.

Gail Fucking Peck.
Lez be honest, I don’t really watch much of Rookie Blue these days. It is a nice show but if there’s one thing they excel at is with Gail Peck. A fascinating case.
This is such an accomplished character, so well written, and many times, it is all in these two minutes scenes, sometimes a minor storyline from the entire episode, and still, it’s so successful.
Here’s the deal, on how female characters should be – real. I love Gail Peck, I just love her. I love her consistent witty sarcasm, unpredictability and just strong character. She’s strong and she’s vulnerable. We may identify with her because she’s so often alone, or because we realize how hard it is for her to open up and let someone in. She’s just this strong female character you rarely see being portrait anywhere. It’s how dimensional she is, we get to be connected to her because she’s a human being. It’s seems so simple, so why there aren’t more Gail Pecks out there? Someone we look at in the screen and feels real? Like in the likes of Cosima? Another female character I could go on and on describing how real and truly a rarity of sorts she is. It goes down to the detail, obviously, thanks to Tatiana Maslany. Cosima is someone with such a strong personality, so I’m just going to steal from someone else and just say that Cosima loves, This is a woman who just loves. And it is beautiful to watch, she’s so passionate.

A sisterhood like no other.
Thoughts on Orphan Black’s season finale – the stomach was aching and it felt just astonishing. It was a beautiful episode, full of drama and excitement.
First thing I would mention about this season is that it is quite different than the first season. Yes, we’re still part of a sisterhood like no other, oh if we are, but I also feel like we don’t have a clue of what we’re looking at. This season reminds me of something like Game of Thrones, where we have these different lines, but with Orphan Black each line stands on a world of its own (instead of a King…?). Ok, I don’t know what I’m saying and surely it is nothing to do with Game of Thrones. Each line stands on its own, with its particular agendas and modes as well as with each character of this show. It goes something like this, it feels like each character works for someone we don’t have a clue, and these people in its turn works under different codes and bosses and so forth. 
The thing about this season, to me, is that it didn’t really give much answers, it just kept throwing wood to the broad fire. But that’s also what makes this show, apparently. It keeps you tangled. You don’t really trust any characters and with every new plot point comes the inevitable skepticism. At the end of the day, everything’s possible.

Season one is revealing, season two is tangled around another tangled bubble of tangled balls…or maybe not that tangled.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Féminin/Féminin - A hidden treasure

Robichaud directing Léa and Émilie.

Chloé Robichaud. This is how I need to start talking about this show. I cannot emphasize her name enough, Chloé Robichaud, because she will be so successful, with a truly promising career ahead. She’s that talented. 
She’s my favorite young talent, along with Xavier Dolan. But I would draw a line not necessarily with him but rather with another Francophone, Céline Sciamma. I had already mentioned how Robichaud’s debut film reminds me a little bit of Water Lilies. I think the main point here is how the two are successful at telling their story. I think it’s the clearest aspect. Both debut films tell us a unique story that feels personal and they tell it quite successfully, despite the dimensions. 

Féminin/Féminin consists of eight episodes and it is a perfect little show with great potential to keep growing. There are a bunch of good things to point out. It’s really really good. Maybe because the idea came and it is being supported by LezSpreadTheWord, a LGBT Canadian web platform that emphasizes on all things Lesbian, that Robichaud is a part of, the show is part mockumentary, part fictional, and they’re only ten minutes long. Therefore the idea that it is really really precious!
I’m in love with this series.

A group of girls chat at a Café, they seem pretty close. They are also pretty They’re gay. At least most of them. But we’re already over it.
These are some of the characters we’ll be seeing throughout the episodes. A Robichaud shows up and they ask her about these two Canadian actresses, Suzanne Clément and Hélène Florent. Then two boys pass by, they play around guessing who the lesbians in the group are (stereotypes issues – check) and then they ask them for a make out session. The girls sigh, they flip the fingers. We laugh. And this is Féminin/Féminin. Right here. 

Léa is the character we follow closely in the Pilot. She’s newly single and she’s casually dating around, playing the role of not wanting anything serious. As she says, “So, I eat, I live alone, I watch Grey’s Anatomy, I cry a little and then I go to bed happy.”
Then we are presented to the mockumentary part. Now you can see who Robichaud is, she’s the director of this documentary. And this fictional documentary is pretty much about being gay. What love means to them, how different they think of their own personal relationships and how can they differ, if they differ, with the heterosexual and so on. It feels really natural and authentic.
I loved the pilot when I saw it at the beginning of the year, it was really good.  Once you see the rest of the episodes, you easily realize everything is in the pilot, every bit of creativity that is present in the pilot works well throughout the rest of the episodes.
What you can immediately see with the Pilot is the series’ authenticity. The acting and how natural it feels. The look of it. How balanced it is the fiction with the fictional documentary. And then that last punch moment (that comes with every other episode) where you have the actresses Suzanne Clément and Hélène Florent sitting next to our close friends Léa and Émilie and have a smooch. Yes, obviously, it’s still fiction, acting within the acting, but it is like a bomb, a bomb of laughter. Because it is so good – and the actresses playing Léa and Émilie kill it with their expressions.
I still look at this scene and crack like the first time.

Episode 2 - Céline & Julie.
In this older younger relationship, Robichaud searches for a representation of the new generation of women in Quebec, bringing these women from different generations. Like when Céline, the recently divorced, asks her younger friend Julie, if twenty four year olds’ believe in love.
You can see Robichaud’s sensitivity with Céline. She’s not here just for showing off lesbians and/or lesbians’ lives, she’s thoughtful about every single character. She brings them humanity. And always warm giggles.

Episode 3 – Steph & Sam.
This episode is beautiful, subtle, dimensional and especially heartfelt. Again, Robichaud brings a story of a couple, apparently steady, actually looking maybe to start a family of their own, but instead of being struck with the excitement of a new life they are hit by lightning, when Sam discovers she has cancer. It’s another beautiful exploitation, in this case, how things can turn opposite sides completely. It’s life.

Episode 4 – Noémie.
 “Noémie knows that she’s gay. She just hasn’t kissed anyone yet.”
This is the coming of age episode, one could say. A tender look on youth. It’s so well written, just in nine minutes, she tells a story that sometimes takes a feature film, and the timings, always so on point. This is like a short lighter version of films like “Fucking Amal”.

Episode 5 – Alex & Anne.
The juicy episode. This is the episode I giggle every second of the way. The comedy timing is to perfection. And the acting - this brilliant scene where they are in a restaurant trying not be awkward but being totally awkward. It’s a treat. When the awkward turns cute.
I should be talking about this series’ soundtrack already. It’s so bloody great. The choices for each particular scene, the opening credits, etc. Damn it Canada.

Episode 6 – Émilie & Maude.
Émilie decides to move in with Maude, a woman she fell in love with very recently.
This episode starts with a harsh break up, like every other relationship that last for four years probably, but as the episode progresses, it just gets funnier and funnier. That last scene when Émilie looks a bit trapped and just unsure to her saying yes to the moving in, it’s everything.

Episode 7 – Le Chalet.
Chloé Robichaud reunites the girls for a weekend out in the country side. It’s hilarious.

Laughing out loud.

Episode 8 – F/F.
The timing of this show is impeccable. The way Robichaud is able to incorporate the mockumentary and fiction, you don’t feel any distance from one to the other, nothing feels disconnected, you contemplate the whole as the whole and it is pretty consistent. It doesn’t even feel like breaks because it is natural. It’s all in the way she decided to write the show, the thematic lines, the way she talks about these women’s lives, so it all makes sense when they’re answering the questions Robichaud asks. 
So, the consistency, the writing, the acting, the music choices, the quality of these web series stands alongside TV front runners, actually better. Way better. I shouldn't even mention The L Word because it is degrading for F/F to be put in the same sentence. I guess this is what Ilene might have once wanted her show to have been like. But the truth is that The L Word is still part of the very few mainstream TV shows entirely based on lesbian characters.
Féminin Féminin just breaks out in this new Internet generation for a new wave of accomplished queer shows, that don't need to worry about breaking barriers and being unapologetic but just are filled with talent and the opportunity to create something unique.

About Féminin/Féminin.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Awards Season Season

Talk about Birdmans, Budapest Hotels, Boyhoods, War movies, Hollywood Business, Christopher Nolan and so on. I will start by quoting Sasha Stone from Awards Daily, “Misogyny will ultimately derail her.” Not only this is a resume about Awards Season and Angelina Jolie’s awards season chances, but also a resume of Hollywood and basically how United States treats women.

So, Telluride lineup is here. Xavier Dolan’s Mommy is showing up. 300 films and some will be showing at the Toronto International  Film Festival, starting in a week from now. Birdman just opened the Venice Film Festival and the rave reviews are starting to emerge. Is this the year of the Showbiz drama?

Transparent 9/26

I feel like I've been waiting for this for a really really long time. I thought about Transparent yesterday.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Monday, August 25, 2014

Quote it, not

Haenel also starred in Andre Techine’s “French Riviera” which played at Cannes in the official selection.
This was from Variety (here).
What in for the love of fuck is this? Again, Variety? This is probably worst than saying that Catherine Deneuve was playing the role of Agnes in the so called film L’homme Qu’on Aimait Trop. This inaccuracy takes a whole new level.
No, but really, what was that all about?

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Robin, The Congress

This is your last performance.
The Congress is the kind of film people write essays about, or could, or should.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

I just had a thought. So Les Combattants has been receiving great reviews in France, the heartfelt resonance and cinematic achievement and the overwhelming Adèle Haenel. For now, I realized it does sound like a truly original story, a competent film...but then I thought, one of the characters dies? Anyway, I shall not read anything and not even think, especially, because I don't want to ruin it (as usual). I can't wait.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Ava's Selma

Ava DuVernay's new film Selma, the story about Martin Luther King through the historical sixties period of his struggles to secure voting rights for all people.
This should be on the top of my list of most wanted films, I can't wait to see it.

Quote it - Adèle

"Cinema doesn't say "Be like me" but rather "be what you want to be".
Adèle Haenel, in an interview for Paris Match promoting Les Combattants. Like I've did in the last post about Adèle, the adjectives describing Adéle just won't stop. Her film is premiering these days in France.

"Elle est la nouvelle tornade du cinéma français."
"Adèle Haenel nouveau visage du cinéma français." Click here to watch her.
"Adèle Haenel, la nouvelle coqueluche du cinéma français." Click here for another one.
Adéle Haenel's week at Télérama - "Une journée particulière...avec Adèle Haenel." Click here.

Monday, August 18, 2014


I'm back, with yet another trailer.
P.S. - The film is pretty cool!

Monday, August 11, 2014


I so needed to watch a film like this one these days.
Queer Palm Winnner.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Camp X-Ray

Another film with Kristen. From Sundance.
Add it to the list.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Before September

We are in the middle of the year. Actually not really, I’m super late in the season and I barely saw a film for over a month or two. But I intend co catch up a bit. 

Suzanne is my favorite film of the year so far, also my big cry of the year. I mean big big cry, I woke up my mother.
As much of a drama sucker as I am, and you might recognize that in me, Suzanne is so beautifully revealing, so so so so human. Katell wrote this unpretentious story, this seemingly simple story that is so so so touching and admirable. I was really touched by this film.

Here’s a list of some of my “most wanted” films of the season:
Mommy, by Xavier Dolan.
Les Combattants, Thomas Cailley.
L’homme qu’on aimait trop, by André Téchiné.
Boyhood, by Richard Linklater.
Gone Girl, by David Fincher.
Unbroken, by Jolie.
All three Keira Knightley films:
Laggies, by Lynn Shelton.
Begin Again.
The Immitation Game.

The Polish film about deaf, The Tribe.
Life Itself.
Respire, by Laurent.
Innapropriate Behaviour.
Clouds of Sils Maria.
White God (and Cannes' films basically).

Saw it earlier, cried, whatever.

Anyway, to finish this post properly, I feel weird. I don’t know much of the films. Or maybe there aren’t many I’m interested in. Or maybe it is just like every other year, they will eventually come around. Where’s 12 Years a Slave? Where’s Before Midnight? I obviously need to go to the Toronto list, because they have most of the films there…

The Year of Adèle Haenel

Let's remember our Actress of the Year. At least that's what you probably get if you're in France or near, let's say Europe....? For me anyway, she's my actress of the year, every year.

"Adèle Haenel est vraiment formidable."

The Year of Adèle.
I’ve actually had announced such fact earlier this year. After the César award, it became pretty obvious. As an Adèle expert, as I am, the question is really how she could go unnoticed for so long. What you will be seeing throughout the rest of the year, especially in her country, France, of course, where she is undeniably the French Actress of the Year, where there have been articles and reviews and interviews all raving and praising this wonderful force of nature that she is, is what I’ve been saying for years now. I also feel proud of her.

After winning the César for her film Suzanne, she premiered two films at her film festival - Cannes.

Les Combattants is one of the most popular French films coming out of the Festival and I wouldn’t be surprised if they would choose this film to compete for the Foreign Language Film. The others competitors being the Ives Saint Laurent biographies? Or Michel Hazanavicious’ The Search? Or films like Clouds of Sils Maria, which is directed by a French?

Les Combattants is one of the most popular French films coming out of the Festival and I wouldn’t be surprised if they would choose this film to compete for the Foreign Language Film. The others competitors being the Ives Saint Laurent biographies? Or Michel Hazanavicious’ The Search? Or films like Clouds of Sils Maria, which is directed by a French?
In an interview magazine, the title reads “Les Nouveaux Combattants du Cinéma Français". Director Thomas Cailley and the actors and crew have been promoting the film at screenings around France. After being the first film to win all three awards from the side Competitions at Cannes, the film opens in France in August and I’m really curious if it will be as popular with the audience as it is being around the media and critics, if not more. Everyone talks about Adèle Haenel and I also wouldn’t be surprised if they would nominate her for another César with her performance.
This film is at the top of my list of most wanted films of the year!

The other one is obviously L’homme qu’on aimait troup. This film also premiered at Cannes, out of Competition, and even how irrelevant this might be, the main praise was for the performances of the three main characters, including a particular stand out for Adèle. Again, when I was reading this praise back in May, it felt like they haven’t ever seen a film with Adèle, when she’s actually been around for a while now. 

Like in the red carpet, when Adèle and Thomas Cailley walked the stairs, the interviewer asked Adèle if it was her first time as well.
Well, she’s been actually doing it since 2007. She has done it at least...who’s really counting? Let’s take a look.

Water Lilies, outside the main Competition. 2007.
In 2011, she had three films.

House of Tolerance, In Competition.

En Ville, Director's Fortnight, probably.

Après Le Sud, Director's Fortnight.

In 2012, she had two other films.
Alyah, Directors' Fortnight.
Trois Mondes, Un Certain Regard.

In 2013, Suzanne.

You had at least nine opportunities to have seen Adèle's films at Cannes.

The Praise - We can start with her co-star Catherine Deneuve. She describes Adèle as “Absulement formidable.” I think we don’t need a translator here as well. Click here to hear Deneuve's own words.

"Une heure avec Alice".

André Téchiné about Adèle:
Read the article here.
André Téchiné first saw Adèle in the short film “Une heure avec Alice”, he liked the originality of the couple, he liked her presence and her freshness, and then like everyone else he saw Water Lilies. It was her presence, essentially, that made him choose Adèle for the role of Agnes. He describes her presence, the power, the physicality, as something really intuitive (her instincts). The only thing he wanted from her to emphasize all that, was for her to die her hair brown.
He had compared her to Isabelle Adjani, especially since the film is happening around the seventies. It also reminds him of Adèle’s ability to bring these different expressions or reactions. She is something extremely raw, extremely childish. 
Curious fact - André Téchiné will be making a film co-directed with Céline Schiamma, director of Water Lilies. It would be lovely if Adèle would work along as well.

Adèle Haenel, star nouvelle génération - Audacieise, brute, brilliant... Click here to read the article.
La comédienne Adèle Haenel serait l'actrice de l'année - Click here to read the article.
La belle vie d'Adèle Haenel - Click here to read the article.

Other work news – This is possibly the worst news I could hear from film this year. Adèle will not be working with Cécile de France after all. She has dropped out from the film directed by Catherine Corsini. I don’t know if it is scheduling conflicts, creative choices or something else. All I know is that I’m aching. 

Adéle, ma raison d'être.