Tag Archives: French film

Aya de Yopougon

Directors: Marguerite AbouetClément Oubrerie, Main Cast (voices): Aïssa MaïgaTella KpomahouTatiana Rojo;

aya-de-yopougon

Set in Abidja (Ivory Coast), this animated film chronicles the life of Aya and her friends, Bintou and Adjoua. They grew up and live, along with their families and friends, in Yopougon, a rather poor area of the biggest city of the country. Like many other teenager girls, they have dreams about their future, want to have fun but also have to deal with their parents’ and society’s expectations. Marguerite Abouet (who is also the writer of the graphic novel) clearly knows well the subject and gives us a rich, insightful view of a seldom seen location and a rarely described period (the late 1970s, during president Houphouët-Boigny’s tenure), using the personal stories of ordinary but colourful characters. Aya is sensible, responsible and independent, quite unlike her two best friends, who are more frivolous and fun-loving. What is quite perplexing about this story is that, although Aya is the protagonist, she ends up being the witness and narrator of the exploits and escapades of the ones around her, being friends, family members or mere acquaintances. The directors seems to have much more fun regaling us with tales of foolishness, small-mindedness and ambitiousness. It is indeed entertaining and offers a biting social satire using the ample spectrum of human qualities. However it is not totally convincing, the well-known secret for a good movie is: don’t tell, show; unfortunately it is not always the case here. Furthermore I would have liked to know more about Aya and her dream of becoming a doctor in such a society, stifled by patriarchy and lacking opportunities but maybe it was a topic too tricky to explore. The animation per se is charming but nothing extraordinary, a good support to a nice story. Peculiar —6.5/10

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Animation, Seen at the cinema

Lulu Femme Neu

Director: Sólveig Anspach, Main Cast: Karin ViardBouli LannersClaude Gensac

The film starts with Lulu (Karin Viard) preparing herself and then being interviewed for a job, at first glance we see that she is neither a very self-confident nor an assertive person.  After failing miserably at the interview, she misses the last train home, you know one of those days…anyone can relate. So Lulu informs her family of the mishap, leaving instructions to her eldest daughter and then checks in at a local hotel, clearly planning to catch the first train in the morning. Up to this point everything is pretty normal but, of course, the next day Lulu doesn’t get on that train, she just decides to stay. In her escape from responsibilities (her sister keeps asking her to go back to her children and husband) she meets Charles and his peculiar brothers. She rediscovers what means to be valued and treated with kindness and when reality comes calling she runs again. This second time is an old, lonely lady (Claude Gensac) that incarnates kindness and a sort of redemption. We watch Lulu thrives and regains confidence, so much that she will finally turn a new leaf once back home. It is a touching. simple story with a quirky protagonist that make for a pleasant hour and half. The film might feel a bit slow but you never know what to expect next so it keeps you engaged. Viard portraits Lulu very well and makes her an all-rounded character and I really like Gensac’s performance. The movie is based on a graphic novel and it seems that the French cinema is experiencing a “nouvelle vague” of sort: getting inspiration from comic books (e.g. La Vie D’Adele), only they are not Marvel or DC comics but something different and new for a change. Refreshing —7/10

Leave a comment

Filed under Seen at the cinema

La Marche

Director: Nabil Ben Yadir, Main Cast:  Olivier GourmetTewfik JallabVincent RottiersM’Barek BelkoukNader BoussandelLubna AzabalHafsia HerziCharlotte Lebon

Set in the autumn of 1983 and inspired by true events, this film tells the story of a non-violent protest against racism in France. Tired and frustrated by yet another act of random violence towards Maghrebi immigrants committed by policemen, a group of friends decide to take action. They organise a march through France to raise awareness about the widespread racial prejudice and to fight against discrimination. At the very beginning they are joined by four other people, complete strangers that believe like them in non-violent demonstrations. Along the way they become a tight-knit group and meet rabid racists, more moderate opposers and enthusiastic supporters. They walk in good or foul weather, reaching small town and cities alike, to spread their message. Their final destination is Paris, where thousands of people join them in an historic rally on the 3rd of December 1983. The film is a very nice mix of drama and comedy, well balanced and never dull. It avoids cliches and easy tropes. The actors are not only excellent in their respective roles but have also great chemistry, which makes the best part of the film. Heartwarming and engrossing. —9/10

Leave a comment

Filed under Seen at the cinema

Eyjafjallajökull

Director: Alexandre Coffre, Main Cast: Valérie BonnetonDany BoonDenis Ménochet

A crossover between “The War of the Roses” and “Due Date” with French humor. A divorced couple needs to reach Greece to attend their only daughter’s wedding but fate intervenes and all flights are grounded due to the eruption of the Icelandic volcano. What follows is a rather adventurous road trip from Germany to Greece passing through the Balkans. The two leads have a pretty good chemistry and it really strengthens the film. Menochet’s character is unique and hilarious. Laughs and a happy ending European style. Entertaining —6.5/10

Leave a comment

Filed under Seen at the cinema