DR: French faves of last year

The two movies I am writing about in this post have a lot in common. Well having something in common is what made me put them in a Double Review. They are both the movies which garnered the most hype overseas, in the UK and US especially. They have been nominated for a huge slew of awards and have won a lot. They are both reflections of the main issue of the plot. Just dealing with the present and a small period in the lives of the characters, not much of the past and end with a hopeful future.

I Loved You So Long (Il y a longtemps que je t'aime)

She was the woman Hugh Grant ignored during the four weddings and a funeral and the lover of English patient and Jeremy’s Clarkson’s idea of the most beautiful woman. Kristin Scott Thomas is wonderful and talented actress who has played a varied set of roles and easily one of finest of the contemporary English ones. With her beauty and talent it’s surprising she hasnt moved to Hollywood. In a way it has been a blessing with her dabbling with a lot of French cinema and this I believe is one of the best of her efforts. ‘I loved you for so long’ is a story of a woman who has just been releas24long.xlarge1ed from prison and has to live with her kid sister who she hasnt seen in 15 years. It shows how Juliette Fontaine (Kristin Scott Thomas) is moving into normal life after such a long stay in prison and at the same time finding love of her sister at a time when she thought all her family has disowned and abandoned her. Juliette is a very strong woman who can take whatever life throws at her and yet inspite of all her strength she cant forget her past. It was an amazing performance by Kristin Scott Thomas and she along with the Elsa Zylberstein, actress who played her sister give the movie its special place.
In many ways this movie reminded me of Rachel Getting Married, where too the elder sister has had a bad past closely related to the family and her life has gone into a disarray. The younger sister who has had to deal with the trauma associated and who builds her life around it and yet makes something out of it. During the movie they bond and resolve their issues, with the younger sister alleviating the pain of the elder one. ‘I loved you for so long’ might have not the overall brilliance flow of Rachel Getting Married but it really stands out as a heart-touching movie due to the lead performances.

The Class (Entre Le Murs-Between the walls)

When a movie wins the Palme D’ Or at the Cannes film festival and attracts praise from critics world wide it definitely evokes an interest in you. And when the subject matter of it is quite commonplace you get even more piqued as to how it turned out so praiseworthy. It has metacritic rating of 94 and also features in several critics' top ten lists. After a long wait, I got to watch the Class and I must say i was underwhelmed. I understand the nuances and the beauty of realism and all but I fail to understand why this movie stands apart?
classThe Class is a semi autobiographical account of François Bégaudeau’s former job as a literature teacher in a Parisian mid-school. François Bégaudeau starred and scripted the movie after the novel he wrote in 2006. He shows us the rich and overwhelming diversity of a class in such a school and how each student has such a baggage of their low income background, identity of their place of origin and religion along with the usual issues which every other teen has to deal with. It makes a volatile atmosphere and yet somehow its is short of exploding. This drives most teachers crazy and they have their limits which makes the task of reform and education more daunting. Any slip on their part, like I see in most western societies, is met with the harshest rebuke. I don't understand how education is possible at a place when the teachers mind. body and spirit are tied down by the system and the students are living with closed minds. How can education happen in such hostile environment?
The movie flows really well and it is quite commendable that it does for there are no concrete plot points along which the movie is woven around but its just a series of well knit snapshots of a class of students in particular year attending this particular subject. There is not a moment where you are bored during watching this seemingly plain movie because of the vivaciousness of the characters(read students) involved. You never once get that we are in a movie and people are acting and saying out lines written for them and in this too the movie is commendable! But what is it that makes it tick and so brilliant I dont comprehend. It maybe my being an amateur or just absence of the right perspective. Whatever it is this is my final say. The Class is a lovely film dealing and a very interesting watch but doesnt really excite you at any point of time during the film or makes you think about it at later which is the whole basis for a great movie.

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