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France x 2: Exiles (2004) & La Moustache (2005)

PostPosted: Sun Jul 01, 2007 4:49 pm
by arsaib4
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Re: France x 2: Exiles (2004) & La Moustache (2005)

PostPosted: Sun Jul 01, 2007 4:53 pm
by arsaib4
EXILES (France-Jap / 2004)

*A 2006 U.S. Release*



After exploring his gypsy roots in such films as Latcho Drom (1993) and The Crazy Stranger (1997), French filmmaker Tony Gatlif delves into his Algerian past with Exiles (Exils), a film for which he won the Best Director award at the 2004 Cannes Film Festival. Born in Algeria from a Roma mother and an Algerian father, Gatlif favors an energetic, dynamic approach to his filmmaking, and that along with his musical prowess have produced a few visual and aural feasts in the past. Featuring many similar tendencies, Exiles stars Roman Duris as Zano, a young bohemian musician from a pied-noir family, who impulsively decides to take a trip to Algeria in order to locate his roots. Accompanying him on the journey is Naima (Lubna Azabal), his similarly unsettled girlfriend of N. African descent. As the couple travel through France, Andalucia, and Morocco on their way, they begin to discover themselves and each other, not to mention the manners in which they are perceived by others. Naima, especially, is surprised by the interest her Muslim name often generates, though she chooses to remain oblivious of its nature. While Gatlifs attempts to connect and deepen the characters within the cultural/historical perspective produce mixed results, hes able to expose their lack of foundation, a fear that internally originates once they reach their destination. An instinctual filmmaker with Kusturician sensibilities, Gatlif has staged a few bravura musical sequences in the past, but none as exceptional nor important as the single 10-mintue shot near the end of the film, which goes a long way to prove that music truly is the food for the soul.

Grade: B+
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*EXILES premiered in-competition at Cannes '04. Now available on DVD in the U.S. (Homevision). Extras include a making-of-documentary.

Re: France x 2: Exiles (2004) & La Moustache (2005)

PostPosted: Sun Jul 01, 2007 5:03 pm
by arsaib4
LA MOUSTACHE (France / 2005)

*A 2006 U.S. Release*



Lets face it, only the French could genuinely attempt an existential parable which deals with the notions of identity and marriage from a question concerning a small amount of facial hair -- and, for the most part, make it work. Which is what writer-director Emmanuel Carrre has accomplished in his fiction debut La Moustache, adapted from his own 1986 novel of the same name.

"How would you feel if I shaved off my mustache?" is the question nonchalantly posed early on in the film by a middle-aged man to his beautiful wife, who responds in a similar fashion before running off to do some errands. A prosperous couple, Marc and Agns (wonderfully played by Vincent London and Emmanuelle Devos, respectively) are preparing to leave for a party at their mutual friend's. Marc does the deed, and then waits for Agnss reaction, which turns out to be nothing. Despite doing everything he can to draw some attention to his upper lip, the same holds true at the dinner later on that evening. Marc is perplexed. At first, he considers that perhaps everyones engaged in an elaborate joke at his expense, but after confronting his wife in the car on the way back, he learns that he never had a mustache.

Carrre, whose other similarly-themed novels have been adapted recently in the likes of Class Trip (1998) and The Adversary (2002), handles these events in an economical fashion, thus generating a surprising amount of interest from the trivial, nearly silly initial premise. And once he stops justifying the film's narrative conundrums, and situates his self-doubting protagonist in Hong Kong, he allows it to become an unnerving emotional experience as well. As Marcs life crumbles, so does his psychological state. But instead of providing easy answers, the film continues to blur the line between reality and what might possibly be a dream -- and strives toward an understanding of the metaphysical uncertainty of modern life and its false sense of control. And during this process, it manages to keep a straight face, which just might be its biggest accomplishment.

Grade: B
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*LA MOUSTACHE premiered at the 2005 Cannes Film Festival (Directors' Fortnight).

*Now available on DVD in the U.S. (Koch Lorber). Interviews and a making-of-doc are provided as extra features.

Re: France x 2: Exiles (2004) & La Moustache (2005)

PostPosted: Sun Jul 01, 2007 6:20 pm
by trevor826
Moved from 'The Last Movie You've Seen' thread.

Exiles (Exils) (2004) - Tony Gatlif

Starring Romain Duris, Lubna Azabal

Having read arsaib4's excellent coments on this film there's not a great deal I can add. I was immediately reminded of Antonioni and his existentialist road movies from the 70's but there is so much more, with a genuine feeling of loss and search for identity.

Music plays or is played throughout, ranging in style and context dependent on the surroundings. The final climatic scene with its almost primitive beats and rhythms is truly mind blowing.

A movie that has real depth and soul with some very memorable moments.

Initially reminiscent of the 70's but bang upto date in every way, highly recommended.

Cheers Trev.

BBFC rated 15.

R2 dvd released by Drakes Avenue, a complete absence of extras as usual.

Another film where I'd love to have had a commentary from the director and leads, Lubna Azabal in particular.