MARION COTILLARD SHINES IN ROMANTIC DRAMA SET IN PROVENCE

Un beau film qui se passe en Provence. A beautiful movie set in Provence.

mal-de-pierres-affiche

Marion Cotillard’s latest offering sees her star in an old-fashioned romantic drama set in the lavender fields of Provence.

Academy award-wining actress Marion Cotillard is no stranger to strong, complicated, and deeply troubled characters. After all, she became famous the world over for her brilliant performance as the legendary singer Edith Piaf in “La vie en rose”, before playing Leonardo DiCaprio’s dead wife who comes back to haunt his dreams in “Inception”. She was therefore the obvious choice to portray a young woman yearning for sexual fulfillment in the adaptation of Milena Agus’s bestseller “Mal de Pierres (From the Land of the Moon), directed by Nicole Garcia.

In this period film set in the 1950’s, Cotillard plays Gabrielle, the wild child of a lavender farmer whose nymphomaniac outbursts are a constant embarrassment for her family. After exhibiting herself naked one evening to a group of workers, her mother threatens to send her to the madhouse if she doesn’t consent to an arranged marriage to Jose, a poor Spanish bricklayer (played by Alex Brendemühl). Unable to answer her husband’s needs, she agrees to let him find satisfaction elsewhere. Gabrielle basically lives like a prisoner bound by the constraints imposed by society, but she will get a break when she is sent away to a hospital in Switzerland to have treatment for kidney stones. There, she meets André Sauvage (played by Louis Garrel), a dashing young lieutenant who has been injured during the Indochina war, and finally experiences the love and passions she has been longing for.

Relocated from Sardinia to the South of France, Mal de Pierres is a deeply moving story of a woman in love with the notion of love. It offers Marion Cotillard another showcase role, but the actress is not the only one to shine in this languid, yet intense movie. Both Garel and Brendemulh give strong performances and the shots of both Provence and the Swiss Alps are simply sumptuous, while the story has a really interesting twist. This beautiful crafted drama has all the ingredients to be a real crowd pleaser.

Image via Allociné
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LOIE FULLER GETS SECOND CHANCE AT FAME IN THE DANCER

Un bel hommage à Loie Fuller! A beautiful tribute to Loie Fuller!

A new movie pays tribute to Loie Fuller, a woman who was once the toast of the Belle Époque cabarets of Paris.

Most people seem to remember the San Francisco-born Isadora Duncan, the embodiment of nature and the ancient Greeks, who died in Nice in 1927 when the enormous silk scarf she was wearing got tangled in the rear hubcaps of her open car. Few however seem to remember her fellow countrywoman and contemporary, Loie Fuller, whose ‘serpentine dance’ took Paris and then the world by storm at the turn of the century.

Thankfully, a recent French movie, Stéphanie Di Giusto’s directorial debut, The Dancer, is setting the record straight, paying tribute to Fuller, who was admired by the likes of Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, the Lumière Brothers, and Auguste Rodin.

The beautifully crafted 19th-century drama premiered earlier this year in Un Certain Regard at Cannes, and opened last week throughout France. It offers a fictionalized account of the rise and fall of Loie Fuller, from her childhood in the mid-west to her much acclaimed performance at the Paris Opera. Portrayed by French musician-turned-actress, Soko, Fuller is mesmerizing as she whirls and twirls among hundreds of yards of silk, her arms extended by long wooden rods, until her whole body disappears into a storm of shifting shapes, be they butterflies or flowers. The American pioneer was a master of theatrical artifice and modern technology, and Di Giusto manages to turn Fuller’s iconic pieces into sumptuous dance sequences.

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The artist’s downfall, however, came when she encountered Isadora Duncan, who first saw her perform at the 1900 Universal Exposition. Both women were seen as polar opposites. Indeed, while one was perceived as androgynous, hard-working, and always experimenting with the latest lighting effects, the other was seen as highly feminine, romantic, and waiting for divine inspiration.

In The Dancer, Duncan is played by Lily-Rose Depp, the daughter of Vanessa Paradis and Johnny Depp, who dazzles in her first big role. The high-profile international cast also includes Gaspard Ulliel (Saint Laurent), Melanie Thierry (The Zero Theorem),Francois Damiens (Heartbreaker), and Louis-Do du Lencquesaing (Taj Mahal).

 

THE TROOPS OF SAINT TROPEZ GET THEIR OWN MUSEUM

Louis de Funès et ses gendarmes ont enfin leur musée à Saint-Tropez. Louis de Funès and his gendarmes finally have their museum in Saint-Tropez.

Louis de Funès

Saint Tropez’s Gendarmerie Nationale has been transformed into a museum dedicated to the gendarme Cruchot and his henchmen, as well as to French cinema.

With one of the most photographed facades in Saint Tropez, and made famous by the highly popular French comedy “Le Gendarme de Saint Tropez” (The Troops of Saint Tropez), the old Gendarmerie Nationale has been given a new lease on life as a museum.

After an 18 month reconstruction and renovation, the two storey building located on Place Blanqui not only pays tribute to the national police force and the famous troop starring the much beloved actors Louis de Funès (The Mad Adventures of Rabbi Jacob) and Michel Galabru (La Cage aux Folles), but also to the history of the septième art in France’s most famous little fishing village.

Since the 1950’s, Saint Tropez has attracted some of the world’s most famous filmmakers, as well as many iconic actors. Everybody, of course, remembers “Et Dieu créa la femme”, which turned the then relatively unknown Brigitte Bardot into the ultimate sex-symbol. Shot in 1955 by Bardot’s first husband, director Roger Vadim, the film definitely put the sleepy enclave on the map, as it followed an out-of-control 18-year old orphan who shakes up Saint Tropez.

BB

There is another glamourous celebrity couple closely linked with the village, Romy Schneider and Alain Delon. The pair starred in the 1969 classic “La Piscine”, a beautifully-shot drama of sexual jealousy and possessiveness that takes place entirely in a villa overlooking the gulf of Saint Tropez.

As for the gendarmes, there are no less than six movies that follow their adventures as they deal with issues like skinny dipping, reckless driving, and even extra-terrestrials!

The museum is open every day from 10 am to 6 pm, except on the following days: the 1st of January, from the 15th of January to the 1st of February, the 1st of May, the 17th of May, and the 25th of December. Tickets cost €4 (free for children under 12 and only €2 for students under 26, gendarmes and jobseekers).

musee-gendarmerie-facade

CONTACT DETAILS
Musée de la gendarmerie et du cinéma
2, Place Blanqui
83990 Saint-Tropez

Tel : + 33 4 94 55 90 20

Images courtesy Musée de la gendarmerie et du cinéma

FILMING OF A BAG OF MARBLES IN NICE CAUSES AN OUTCRY

Tournage d’Un sac de billes à Nice pour Riviera Buzz. Filming of A bag of marbles for Riviera Buzz.

a bag of marbles

It was a sight that nobody expected nor wanted to see again in Nice: a banner with the Nazi swastika on the facade on a government building.

Some viewed it as a provocation, others took pictures thinking it a joke, while in reality, it was actually just an unfortunate misunderstanding. A film crew, currently in town to film an adaptation of Joseph Joffo’s memoirs, Un sac de billes (A Bag of Marbles), had actually been granted permission to use the Palais de la Préfecture to represent the Hotel Excelsior under the German occupation during World War II.

In order to alleviate the outcry, the Préfecture was compelled to release a statement afterwards saying it had made every effort to make people aware of the operation, including contacting the city’s Jewish community to explain. It also added that it was an “honour” to host the filming as part of the city’s “duty to remember.“

Un-sac-de-billes-book-cover

Indeed, after Italy surrendered on 8th September 1943, the Germans moved into Nice and two days later, Nazi war criminal Alois Brunner, a top aide to Adolf Eichmann, strategically set up his headquarters at the Excelsior, and immediately started organizing some of the war’s most violent raids against the Jews. Teams of SS officers routinely patrolled the city, snatching anyone off the street that looked Jewish. The concepts of nationality or mixed marriages, the age of children, or the infirmity of people stood for nothing, and the simple fact of being circumcised was enough to be arrested.

From that fateful day in September up to the time Brunner left Nice, in total about 80 days, no less than 2,142 Jewswere rounded up and sent to the hotel. There, they were registered and then sent to the death camps via the nearby train station.

A Bag of Marbles is a classic of children’s literature, which has been translated into 18 languages. It follows two Jewish brothers, Maurice and Joseph, as they fled occupied France to the free zone, primarily Menton and Nice, in order to reunite with their family.

The adaptation of the book, which is being directed by French-Canadian director Christophe Duguay and stars famed actors Christian Clavier, Patrick Bruel and Elsa Zylberstein is being filmed in Nice and Avignon until the end of October.

Lead image © RIVIERA BUZZ

MARGUERITE – THE TONE DEAF BARONESS HITS ALL THE RIGHT NOTES

Petite critique ciné pour Riviera Buzz. Little movie review for Riviera Buzz.

Marguerite

Money can buy many things, but, sadly, not talent. Just ask a tone-deaf baroness with aspirations of becoming an opera singer.

Xavier Giannoli’s latest movie Marguerite tells the very story of this rich baroness, portrayed by chameleon actress Catherine Frot.

Loosely based on the life of American soprano Florence Foster Jenkins, Giannoly’s film is a crowd-pleasing, yet tragic, fable about the drive to succeed against all odds. Foster Jenkins, a wealthy socialite born in 1868 in Pennsylvania, decided to run away to New York to follow her dream after her father forbade her from performing in public. She studied voice for some time, hosted charity fundraisers attended by well-heeled society types where her singing was usually the main attraction, and finally achieved, at the age of 76, her lifelong dream of performing at Carnegie Hall’s Recital Hall on October 25, 1944.

A circle of devoted friends surrounded her, though none had the courage to tell her the truth about her horrendous performances. For years her annual galas would remain a popular fixture on the New York social calendar. Foster Jenkins was convinced that her voice was beautiful, and simply dismissed the haters who dared criticize her or laugh during her galas. Even though she remained blissfully and utterly convinced of her ability until the end, she also once declared in a rare moment of lucidity “people may say I can’t sing, but no one can ever say I didn’t sing.”

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Florence Foster Jenkins may quite possibly have been the worst opera singer ever, but to quote Cecil Parkinson ‘it is better to be a has-been than a never was’. Despite her obvious lack of talent, she still remains a very hot topic of conversation to this day.

While the movie Marguerite has just been released in France, Stephen Frears is also working on his own biopic of this eccentric character, which will feature Oscar-winning actress Meryl Street and shall hit theaters in 2016.

WOODY ALLEN REVELS IN THE MAGIC OF THE FRENCH RIVIERA

Dernier article en date pour Riviera Buzz (latest article to date for Riviera buzz)

Woody Allen

Magic in the Moonlight, Woody Allen’s latest comedic offering, does a great job in highlighting the beauty of the region, albeit with a 20’s twist.

Woody Allen loves France, that’s a known fact. He is also a jazz enthusiast who every now and then likes to play the clarinet on stage with his New Orleans band. So it should come as no surprise that just a few years after the release of his hit film Midnight in Paris, he chose the French Riviera as the backdrop for his latest movie, Magic in the Moonlight, another comedy drama set in the 1920s, during the jazz age.

Shot on location last summer between the Var and Menton, the film is a beautifully crafted tribute to our region at a time where it was the favorite holiday playground of the wealthy English and Americans. It tells the story of Stanley Crawford, a cynical illusionist (played by Colin Firth), who travels to the South of France at the request of a friend to uncover as a fraud a young medium, Sophie Baker (played by Emma Stone). Crawford is a die-hard rationalist who does not believe in the existence of a spirit world but after meeting Sophie and slowing falling for her, he will start questioning all his beliefs.

Magic in the Moonlight may not be Allen’s best work and will probably not receive as many rave reviews as last year’s Blue Jasmin, but it is still nonetheless a delightful existential comedy which offers a jazzy soundtrack, a parade of beautiful period dresses and, of course, many amazing shots of the French Riviera.

Allen and his team did indeed a great job to find some unspoiled Belle Époque settings, starting with the Château du Rouët, a lovely vineyard near Le Muy, and the world-famous Eilen Roc on Cap d’Antibes. Some of the interior scenes were shots in the Nice observatory and in the Hôtel Belles Rives in Juan-Les-Pins, where F. Scott Fitzgerald penned Tender Is the Night, and where he and Zelda partied with the couple who reportedly inspired the book’s famous characters, Nicole and Dick Diver. Meanwhile, the lovely seaside scenes between the two main protagonists were filmed in the red rock Esterel beaches.

Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur (PACA) reportedly invested €200,000 in the film. After seeing the movie, it is clear that the region could not have dreamt of a better marketing campaign to draw even more tourists to these shores.

Lead image © Mars Distribution via AlloCiné

ENNIO MORRICONE BRINGING HIS GREATEST SCORES TO NICE

Nouvel article publié dans Riviera Buzz (New article published in Riviera Buzz)

Morricone

Without doubt the most recognized composer in the history of movies, Ennio Morricone will be bringing his world tour to Nice next March.

His name will forever be linked with masterpieces such as ‘For a Few Dollars More’ (1965), ‘The Good, the Bad and the Ugly’ (1966), ‘Once Upon a Time in America’ (1984), ‘Cinema Paradiso’ (1988) and ‘Django Unchained’ (2012), and at 85, Ennio Morricone is showing no signs of slowing down. For the last few months, he has been touring Europe to sold-out audiences and next year, he will be bringing his “My life in Music – World tour” to Nice for what should be a memorable experience.

At the helm of an ensemble of 200 musicians and singers, the Italian maestro will revisit some of his most famous creations over a career that spans more than 50 years and includes more than 500 film and television scores.

Morricone is the only composer to have won the prestigious ‘Honorary Oscar’ award in 2007 for his “magnificient and multifaceted contributions to the art of film music”. He has also been nominated five times for an Academy Awardand has won two Grammy awards, two Golden Globes, five BAFTAs and seven David di Donatello awards. And if his popularity is due in part to his prolific works, it has also a lot to do with the variety of his repertoire that ranges in style from classical and jazz, to electronic and rock.

Ennio Morricone plays the Palais Nikaïa in Nice on Thursday, 12th of March 2015 at 8:00 pm. Tickets range in price from 111,50 € to 150 € and can be purchased from all usual outlets.

A RENAISSANCE OF SORTS FOR FRENCH CINEMA THIS FALL

Dernier article en date pour Riviera Buzz (Latest article to date for Riviera Buzz)

French cinema

After an annus horribilis in 2013, things are starting to look up for French cinema with positive reviews from all quarters for recent releases.

The fall movie season is upon us. Oscar and César contenders are being shown at festivals and in theatres the world over, and after just a few weeks, one can already predict that 2014 is going to be a good year…at least, as far as French cinema is concerned. No less than three movies have already been enthusiastically received by both critics and audience alike. After a very tough year in 2013, both at home and abroad, and a decrease in the numbers of films getting the green light, this is a welcome sign!

It all started in early September when doctor-turned-director Thomas Lilti released his comedy-drama ‘Hippocrate. Playing like a docu-fiction, it follows a young intern played by Vincent Lacoste (‘The French Kissers’) as he makes his first rounds in a Paris hospital and learns, under the guidance of an experience-Algerian physician, Abdel, portrayed by Reda Kateb (‘Zero Dark Thirty’), how to deal with long hoursbudget cuts and severe understaffing. At the same time grim and funny, this engaging movie shows the gritty reality of the French medical system, which is often reputed to be the best in the world. Nurses and doctors in the film may be fans of the American TV show ‘House’ but, as one intern points out as things get difficult, “Medicine is not a career, it is a curse”.

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Meanwhile, fans of romantic comedies have been flocking in numbers to see the enjoyable adaptation of British cartoonist Posy Simmonds’ graphic novel ‘Gemma Bovary‘. Featuring one of the most talented French comedians of his generation, Fabrice Lucchini (‘The Women on the 6th Floor’, ‘In the House’), and British actress Gemma Arterton (‘Tamara Drewe’), Anne Fontaine’s new film takes place in a small village in Normandy and tells the story of a French baker who becomes obsessed with the English couple who has just moved next door, after he remarks the similarities between the wife, Gemma, and Gustave Flaubert’s famed heroine, Emma Bovarie. Sparkling with tongue-in-cheek humour and poking fun at both cultures with Luchini delivering some hilarious lines in franglais, this beautifuly mounted production should see solid numbers, not only in France but also overseas.

It is, however, facing fierce competition from Jeanne Herry’s ‘Elle l’adore, which perfectly succeeds in juggling dark comedy and romance, thanks in part to another strong performance by Sandrine Kiberlain (‘9 Month Stretch’). As the daughter of popular singer Julien Clerc and famed actress Miou MiouHerry knows a thing or two about celebrity, and this is why she chose a mythomaniac groupie, Muriel, and the singer she follows everywhere, Vincent Lacroix, as the protagonists of her debut feature. When the latter accidentaly kills his girlfriend, he decides to turn to the only person he thinks will help him dispose of the body, and that’s the beginning of a cat and mouse game between the two heroes and the cops. But nothing is what it seems, and through some crazy plot twists and numerous absurd situations, ‘Elle l’adore’ explores, in an orginal and funny way, the power of obsession and the price of fame.

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SPAIN IS THE STAR OF THE 2014 CINÉALMA FILM FESTIVAL

Nouvel article publié dans Riviera Buzz (New article published in Riviera Buzz)

Cinéalma

There is much more to Spanish cinema than Pedro Almodovar’s movies and that is what the 9th edition of Cinéalma will demonstrate this month.

Dedicated to cinema from the Mediterranean basin, this annual film festival held in Carros is always an excellent occasion to discover the latest movies from the biggest names in the industry but also the works from up and coming directors. Every year, it focuses on a country and after Italy in 2013, this is Spain’s turn to be the star of this multicultural celebration.

Famed writer/director David Trueba will be presenting his new film, Vivir es facil con los ojos cerrados (Living is Easy with Eyes Closed) which swept the 2014 Goyas, Spain’s equivalent to the Oscars with wins for Best Actor (Javier Cámara), Best New Actress (Natalia de Molina), Best Original Score (Pat Metheny), Best DirectorBest Original Screenplay, and Best Film.

e will not be alone, as a few young directors who have lately been making the festival rounds will also be there such as Jaime Rosales with his fifth feature, Hermosa Juventud (Beautiful Youth) and Paco León’s Carmina o revienta (Carmina or Blow Up).

In all, these are 33 films, including 14 previews and 7 unreleased movies, from 13 countries (France, Italy, Spain, Greece, Israel, Palestine, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, Turkey, Croatia, Argentina and Mali) that are going to be shown.

Through a nice selection of genres and themes, the goal of this 10-day fest is to promote the Mediterranean regionin all its geographic and cultural diversity and to boost tolerance through conferences and convivial exchanges. It will also support Théodora, an association that organises clown visits in hospitals.

The 2014 edition of Cinéalma will take place in Salle Juliette Gréco in Carros from the 10th to the 19th of October. Single tickets cost €2 and a 6-movie pass is available for just €10.

CONTACT DETAILS
Cinéalma 2014
Salle Juliette Gréco
5, bis bd. de la Colle Belle
06510 Carros  

NICE’S MOST FAMOUS UNSOLVED CASE HITS CINEMAS THIS SUMMER

Cet article a été publié dans Riviera Buzz en 2014 (this article was published in Riviera Buzz in 2014)

 le-roux-poster

The story of the disappearance of a glamorous heiress in Nice, a case which remains unsolved to this day, hits the big screens this summer.

Long before the sordid murder of Monaco’s wealthiest woman became a sensational tabloid case recently, another tale of seductionmoney and betrayal among the French Riviera’s rich and famous made the headlines of all the local newspapers: the infamous Le Roux Affair. Today, famed director André Téchiné, the man behind Ma saison préférée  and Les rosaux sauvages, is revisiting this family drama in his latest film L’homme qu’on aimait trop, staring Adèle HaenelGuillaume Canet and Catherine Deneuve and shot mostly on location in Nice last year.

Released last Wednesday to mostly positive reviews, the movie has all the elements that make for a gripping story: a bitter casino war, a love triangle, an unsolved disappearance, a possible involvement of the French Connection… Sometimes reality is definitely stranger than fiction!

It all started some 37 years ago, when Agnès Le Roux, the glamorous daughter of the owner of the Palais de la Mediterranée, disappeared at the wheel of her Range Rover. At the time, Le Roux had been romantically involved with Maurice Agnelet, a lawyer and a serial womaniser, who convinced her to vote against her mother, a former model who also once dated Agnelet and was running the family-owned casino since the death of her husband, at a board meeting. This betrayal led to the take-over of the casino by Dominique Fratoni, the owner of Le Ruhl. Agnès received three million francs in return from Fratoni, but soon after the money was transferred to Agnelet’s private account, the lawyer decided to end their relationship and the heiress mysteriously vanished.

In 2007, Maurice Agnelet was sentenced to 20 years in prison after his third trial, but a few years later, a former mafia member, Jean Pierre Hernandiez, claimed that the real culprit was instead Jeannot Lucchesi, a well-known figure from the Marseille underworld, without however providing any real evidence to support his accusations.

Earlier this year, Agnelet, now 76 years old, was found guilty of the murder for the second time after his own son testified against him, and is back behind bars. However, in the absence of any witnesses and with the body of the victim still to be found, doubts remain as to identity of the culprit, and while Téchiné’s movie does a good job recreating the Nice of the 70’s, it deliberately refrains from providing an answer.

L’homme qu’on aimait trop is currently playing in cinemas all over France.

http://www.riviera-buzz.com/on-the-town/entertainment/item/710-le-roux-drama-part-2.html