Tag Archives: french

Laissez-passer / Safe Conduct (2002) Bertrand Tavernier, Jacques Gamblin, Denis Podalydès, Charlotte Kady, Biography, Drama, History

Laissez-passer (2002)
In occupied France, German-run Continental Films calls the shots in the movie business. Assistant director and Resistance activist Jean Devaivre works for Continental, where he can get “in between the wolf’s teeth and avoid being chewed up”. Fast-living screenwriter Jean Aurenche uses every possible argument to avoid working for the enemy. For both, wartime is a battle for survival.

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Choses secrètes / Secret Things (2002) Jean-Claude Brisseau, Coralie Revel, Sabrina Seyvecou, Roger Miremont, Comedy, Drama, Fantasy, Erotic

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Two young women find themselves struggling to survive in Paris, street-wise Nathalie, a stripper, and naïve Sandrine, a barmaid. Together, they discover that sex can be used to their advantage, and pleasure. Both find positions in the office of a large bank, where bored, under-stimulated, prey are easy pickings. After making their way though several layers of executives at the bank, with destructive, and lucrative, results, they approach Christophe, scion to the bank director. What they don’t know is that Christophe is a manipulative voyeur, whose last two lovers set themselves on fire when he rejected them. A connoisseur of high-class orgies, Christophe is only interested in new talent to satisfy the appetites of all whom he controls. In Christophe, the girls have found an opponent who knows all their wiles, and will challenge their simple under-class friendship with levels of jealousy and ecstasy that they have never experienced before. Will they survive?

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Les anges exterminateurs / The Exterminating Angels (2006) Jean-Claude Brisseau, Frédéric van den Driessche, Maroussia Dubreuil, Lise Bellynck, Drama, Fantasy, Erotic

les-anges-exterminateurs-aka-the-exterminating-angels-2006
François is a film-maker, usually impassive and without affect. He’s making a film about women’s pleasure as they transgress taboos. He doesn’t know that two fallen angels who’ve been sent to upend him are manipulating his interest. He interviews young women, video tapes screen tests, and selects several for the film. The erotic scenes with them generate off-screen dynamics that may overwhelm the project. His wife is at first ignorant of his venture, then she’s put off, and then becomes his assistant. The fallen angels are always close at hand: is François’s ruin inevitable?

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Les Contrebandières / The Smugglers (1968) Luc Moullet, Françoise Vatel, Monique Thiriet, Johnny Monteilhet, Comedy

les-contrebandieres-aka-the-smugglers-1968
Two young women leave the claustrophobic existence of the big city behind and move to a small border town. They get caught up with a border guard who is involved in smuggling from both sides of the border. When the border changes as a result of a political realignment, the two young women end up living with the guard. Both fall for the man, but jealousy rears its ugly head and they move back to the city. The ever-restless women soon leave the city behind and return to the border where they continue their youthful romps with the guard and other willing participants. The guard has women on both sides of the line who help in his illegal activities.

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Les amants du Pont-Neuf / The Lovers on the Bridge (1991) Leos Carax, Juliette Binoche, Denis Lavant, Daniel Buain, Drama, Romance

les-amants-du-pont-neuf-aka-the-lovers-on-the-bridge-1991
Set against Paris’ oldest bridge, the Pont Neuf, while it was closed for repairs, this film is a love story between two young vagrants: Alex, a would be circus performer addicted to alcohol and sedatives and Michele, a painter driven to a life on the streets because of a failed relationship and an affliction which is slowly turning her blind. The film portrays the harsh existence of the homeless as Alex, Michele and Hans, an older vagrant survive on the streets with their wits. As they both slowly get their lives back together, Michele becomes increasingly dependent on Alex as her vision deteriorates further. Fearing that Michele will leave him if she receives a new medical treatment Alex attempts to keep Michele practically a prisoner. The streets, skies and waterways of Paris are used as a backdrop to the story in a series of stunning visuals which dominate the film.

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La pianiste / The Piano Teacher (2001) Michael Haneke, Isabelle Huppert, Annie Girardot, Benoît Magimel, Drama, Music, Romance

la-pianiste-aka-the-piano-teacher-2001
Erika Kohut is a pianist, teaching music. Schubert and Schumann are her forte, but she’s not quite at concert level. She’s approaching middle age, living with her mother who is domineering then submissive; Erika is a victim then combative. With her students she is severe. She visits a sex shop to watch DVDs; she walks a drive-in theater to stare at couples having sex. Walter is a self-assured student with some musical talent; he auditions for her class and is forthright in his attraction to her. She responds coldly then demands he let her lead. Next she changes the game with a letter, inviting him into her fantasies. How will he respond; how does sex have power over our other faculties?

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