Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Gilles' Wife --La Femme de Gilles

This intense film by director Frederic Fonteyne stars Emmanuelle Devos as Elisa, a woman who does her best to cope while her husband Gilles (played by Clovis Cornillac) is having an affair with her younger sister Victorine (played by Laura Smet). The literal translation of the title from French is "The Wife/Woman of Gilles."

If you want a fast-paced film with lots of action, this is NOT the film for you. But if you want a film that's beautiful (the use of light is amazing!) and sensitively tells the story of a marriage with infidelity, then this is definitely a film for you to see. Emmanuelle Devos is brilliant in this role of a wife who is still loving, devoted and demonstrating much patience while her husband carries on an affair with her younger sister.

Elisa has clues that there's an affair going on. Only when Gilles acts extremely jealous and aggressive at a dance, it becomes clear that he has feelings for Victorine.

Gilles has a full life with a night job at a foundry, his wife Elisa, two young daughters and a third child on the way. But it's not clear if his infidelity is a habit or a phase he's going through because of his own self-dissatisfaction. It might even be possible that he's going through an early mid-life crisis. But her sister is younger, more sophisticated and different. Men passing by compare her to Mistinguett. So maybe Gilles attraction to her is because she's different and not so familiar and available like his wife?

Here's a video which features Mistinguett singing Mon Homme, a song that is also played in this film:

This film was very well-cast, as the two actresses who portray sisters look very similar and the dynamic between them is believable. The cinematography is also quite creative.

By the way, in French, the name Gilles is pronounced without the 's' somewhat like "Jeel" ('J' is pronounced like "Jill") not "Geel."

Some quotes from this film:

"Cover yourself!"---Elisa to Victorine.

"Smoke? Nothing better to kill a woman."---Elisa to Gilles, who is a smoker

"You'll get over your little fling."---Elisa to Gilles

"If I didn't love her, I wouldn't have all these feelings."---Gilles

"If I yell at him, he will leave. I know him. So I can't...Father, I need help.I don't know. I don't know what to do."---Elisa to priest in confessional

"I was a complete jerk to you."---Gilles to Elisa and to which she replies, "Not completely, if you can say that."

"Well, if you knew, you really should have kept your husband at home."---Victorine to Elisa

Some scenes from this film:

Here's the trailer for this film:

Thursday, June 9, 2016

The Good Lie --a film about refugees from Sudan

This is a great film directed by Philippe Falardeau. This film is based on the fact that in 2000, thousands of Lost Boys and Girls were transported to the United States and the story is told through the story of a few of them. These children were orphans from the brutal civil war in Sudan which started in 1983. The screenplaywas written by Margaret Nagle. It stars real Sudanese refugees: Ger Duany as Jeremiah, Emmanuel Jal as Paul and Kuoth Wiel as Abital. Both Ger and Emmanuel were also boy soldiers. Emmanual is a musician and some of his music is on the soundtrack.
Parts of the film were filmed in United States, Canada, South Africa and Kenya.

Mamere is played by Arnold Oceng, the son of a Sudanese refugee father.
Three young men from Sudan named Jeremiah, Paul and Mamere are among those who get to the United States. The young men end up in Kansas City, Missouri while Mamere's sister Abital ends up in Boston.

Viewers of this film see how the children suffered the tragedy of war and the loss of their families and villages. Then there was the long trek to find safety which led them to Kenya and a refugee camp there.

The three young men and young woman lived at the refugee camp until they were fortunate enough to be transported to the United States.

Unfortunately, one of the results of 9/11 is that many remained were forced to remain stuck in refugee camps like the one in the film near Kukuma , Kenya.

Reese Witherspon plays Carrie, the woman who helps the young men find jobs.

The title of this film is taken from Mamere's class lesson in which the teacher discusses with the class Huck Finn's good lie to save his slave friend Jim.  It inspires Mamere's own "good lie."

Some quotes from this film:

"Now we can finally find out what this means."---Abital

"I have courage but all your have is strength."---Theo

"Our elders told us we would be safe in Ethiopia, should anything happen."---Jeremiah

"I want to live. I do not want to die."--children repeated this before drinking urine

"So this is what winter in America feels like.this is frozen water. It's called ice."---American man after handing out blocks of ice

"Be strong, my brother."---Abital to Mamere

"They're from Africa. I'm sure they're not gonna care."---Carrie

"If you do not have a husband, then it is your children who provide for you?"---Mamere to Carrie

"You make our hearts throb for your many kind assists today."---Mamera to Carrie

"Isn't there someone who might want or need this food?"---Jeremiah

"Jim's freedom means more to Huck than the money he might get for giving him up."---Mamere

"If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together".---African Proverb

Some scenes from this film:

Here's the official trailer: