“It was a nice tracking shot, but we’re no closer to our dream.”
Wouldn’t you know it… I was proud of myself for being nearly caught-up with the blog before True/False, then a global pandemic came along and set me back by another month. Anyway, lucky I took some notes on this one – it was very good, and also Dupieux’s most convincingly movie-looking movie yet. No Mr. Oizo music, for some reason.
Jean “The Artist” Dujardin drives out and pays too much for a deerskin jacket, the soundtrack playing thriller tension music. Dude’s got money problems, estranged-wife problems, cellphone problems. He steals a book on filmmaking to impress waitress Adèle Haenel (star of The Unknown Girl), then hires her as his editor (he hasn’t read the filmmaking book and doesn’t know what editing is) and keeps asking her for money. Since she is investing in the film, she starts considering herself a producer and bossing Jean around.
Jean is a terrible person from the very start, and that’s before he starts delusionally talking to himself-as-the-jacket, then hitting the town on a jacket-snatching spree and eventually murdering all jacket-wearing citizens with a sharpened fan blade. Good ending, Jean’s actions catching up with him, Adèle inheriting the jacket.
Opened the Cannes Directors Fortnight, playing with a bunch of movies that never opened here, plus The Lighthouse, First Love, and the Luca Guadagnino short I just heard about last night.
Ensemble drama about the actions and endless meetings of ACT UP in Paris, led by Adèle Haenel (Nocturama, The Unknown Girl) and Antoine Reinartz, which settles down in the second half to stick with one of the group’s most energetic members Sean (Nahuel Perez Biscayart of Could See a Puma) with his hunky boyfriend Nathan as Sean is dying of AIDS. It’s a bit long and talky, but moving.
Michael Sicinski on Letterboxd:
The relationship, and Sean’s death, may be “something we’ve seen before” in the movies. But I would argue that this relationship means something unique in context, coming as it does after the meticulous examination of the organization, function, and direct actions of ACT UP Paris. It is literally a love that has been won through struggle, something these men fought for to the very last.
Another empathy machine from those Dardennes. I preferred this to Two Days, was more involved in the story and more impressed by the performances. Although I wasn’t too surprised when the crime finally got solved… when you cast regular Dardenne star Jérémie Renier as the dad of a possible witness to the crime in a minor scene, you can assume he’ll be coming back in a major way in the second half of the film. Supposedly this has been re-edited since Cannes, but it’s hard to imagine what that means since the scenes are mainly long takes.
“A good doctor has to control his emotions.” Jenny (Adèle Haenel of 120 BPM, House of Tolerance) is a young doctor just getting her own place, doesn’t answer the door after hours, and is told the next day that the woman trying to get in was found dead. The police tell her all they can, then she investigates by asking employees and patients if they’d seen anything, eventually figuring out that one sick kid isn’t physically ill but has made himself sick worrying since he witnessed his dad killing the girl. The movie builds up so much goodwill in its first half and through Haenel’s sensitive performance that I didn’t even mind when it turned into a mystery-thriller towards the end.