Saturday, 3 December 2011

Ma Femme est une actrice - My wife is an actress

2001 by Yvan Attal - French movie

How would a husband feel, when his actress wife is looking nude on the screen or when she is doing a sensitive love making scene? This is a very brilliant plot for a movie. And Yvan makes a movie on this topic, with his own wife Charlotte Gainsubourg playing the lead role as his wife Charlotte in the movie. This is Mr. Attal's first full fledged feature film as a director. So here is a man with experience on the topic, writing, directing and acting. That ought to be brilliant right? To make it more interesting the husband is just an ordinary guy, a sports writer, but definitely not a celebrity like his wife.

Most husbands naturally would be annoyed by this and even if they try to be normal they will be easily annoyed if some stupid man wants to discuss with him on this topic. Our husband hardly seem to care about what his wife did in the movies. He was more worried about the lack of peace in their personal life as he had to manage with autograph hunters and photographers all the time. How he starts having problems, after being confronted by a stupid man, with weird questions only the French wont mind asking, is really nicely captured. And his wife has to go to London to act with an old and hot hero.

To a good extent, this movie is really brilliant. We have seen little bits of life behind celebrities in movies like Notting Hill, America's sweethearts. But all those movies did not go really into this topic and was on the periphery mostly. But here Attal does go seriously into many issues that can arise between a husband and wife, when the husband is not a celebrity and the wife is. Add to it the moments when wife has to act in intimate scenes. But I wonder if that was the first time, Charlotte had to act that kind of a scene in her acting life, other than for the kissing scenes about which she explains to him that it was not easy. Because often the husband has to bear people talking about how hot Charlotte is etc, which might not happen if this London movie was the first instance for such a scene. Something was missing clearly in the script, I felt.

For a good 3/4th of this movie, I thought it handled the theme very well. But then, towards the end it just took the path what we would expect of ordinary romantic comedies and it looked pretty ordinary for me. When I say this, I really do not have any idea, what other options Attal had, since he wanted this to have a happy ending. But we know that celebrity marriages always are short lived and he could have lead the movie differently. But may be, he is taking moments from his own life and he must be a happy husband with a celebrity wife. So. But still, some thing was lost in transition in the script.

However, I have to say a good part of the movie is really nice and entertaining too. It can even provoke many questions on the ordinary viewer about what would happen if they were in these kind of situations. And there are some real funny scenes too.

Good performances and Attal deserves a lot of credit for making this movie. If only the end was better.


1995 by Marleen Gorris - Dutch movie

Many movies use the technique of narration when they have an epic kind of story or when there is a complex plot. Many a times, poor narration alone can defigure a movie. There are some movies which handled an epic story without any narration and there are many which used narration in a beautiful way. Antonia or Antonia's Line is a beautiful movie in which the narration is wonderful. But it is not just about the narration. It is such a lovely movie.

After the war, a woman arrives back in her village with her young daughter. The village is quite a male dominated one, but Antonia sets on a life which will make her a strong matriarch and would see through four generations.

The above plot line is quite insufficient to describe this movie. It is simply the story of a strong woman who lead her life as she wanted, not being controlled by any one, but saw through her daughter, her grand daughter and her great grand daughter and made friends around with her kindness and courage.

At least for the first half of the movie, it is also about the village which have many strange and wonderful characters. In the second half the movie goes through the generation lines of Antonia, quite fast though. The first half is so beautiful, simple and lovely with some really nice fun in between, the second half is more about the life, raising so many questions about life, through the characters, but of course reaching the viewer.

It is definitely a female oriented movie, but it is not anti male, never. It just concentrates on women who find happiness without worriying about the societal and moral roles and rules. I found it really nice. It was so beautiful how the movie looked at love, love between people of different capabilities, ages and what not. One of the most amazing factors was how the actress who played Antonia aged in the movie. It was brilliant. The main character, and the villagers who are as old as her, how they aged together with the village, was really brilliant.

And a truly brilliant piece of Cinematography and music too.

A maochist man or even a conservative religious woman might not find Antonia very lovely, because of all what is happening in this movie or because of all the questions it raises. But for me, it was simply a wonderful movie. If not for its hurried pace in the second half it would have ended as a really brilliant master piece. Actually, if it had taken a more detailed look at all the generations, even if the movie got longer like it happened with Le Meglio Gioventu, it might have been even better. But may be for the director, Antonia was more interesting than her daughter or grand daughter.

A must watch movie, I would say. A movie on life, how everybody should live it, peacefully, following ones own heart and ignoring what the society would think.