Foreign Film Friday -And God Created Woman (1956)

SUMMARY

Juliete Hardy is a sensually precocious young woman without anyone to love her. She has been raised in an orphanage and taken in by the Vigier-Lefrancs. Her reputation in St. Tropez is well-known. Madame Vigier-Lefrancs finally threatens to return Juliete to the orphanage after she catches her chatting in the nude with the wealthy but older Eric Carradine.

But Juliete only has eyes for Christian Tardieu, the eldest son and breadwinner of the Tardieu family.  Because of this she refuses to commit to Carradine and also spurns the advances of Christian’s quiet but steady younger brother Michel. Christian promises to take her with him when he goes back to Marseilles if she will spend the night with him. But when he breaks his promise he sets into motion Juliete’s revenge. It is a revenge that will entangle Juliete with all three men and almost cost her a chance at the love she yearns for. Continue reading “Foreign Film Friday -And God Created Woman (1956)”

Foreign Film Friday -Le Bonheur (1965)

SUMMARY

François and Thérèse are happily married with two young children. During the week Francois works as a carpenter for his uncle and on the weekends the young family enjoys exploring the nearby countryside. Their life is full of bonheur (happiness) , perhaps even idyllic.

But then François meets Émilie to whom he is instantly attracted. It’s not long before they being an affair, even though she knows that he is married. François seems to believe that his affair with Émilie is not subtracting from what he has with his wife. He doesn’t love Thérèse any less. Instead, his love with Émilie only adds to his overall happiness. But when, he finally confesses to his wife about the relationship and his viewpoint, tragedy ensues. Continue reading “Foreign Film Friday -Le Bonheur (1965)”

Foreign Film Friday -La Parisienne (1957)

SUMMARY

Brigitte Laurier (Brigitte Bardot) is the precocious daughter of France’s president. She has fallen in love with her father’s employee, the handsome womanizer Michel Legrand (Henri Vidal). Not only does she arrange to become Michel’s secretary, but she sticks like glue to him outside the office despite his apparent lack of interest in her.

On a weekend when President Laurier is hosting various government officials at his home, Brigitte contrives to be found in Michel’s bed. Her furious father insists they marry. Once she has caught him, Brigitte isn’t as eager for the union since the marriage was forced upon Michel.

However, Michel surprises her by displaying a previously hidden appetite for his sexy new wife. But Brigitte hasn’t forgotten Michel’s past as a notorious ladies man. She is convinced it is only a matter of time until he cheats on her. When an old mistress phones their home, Brigitte decides two can play that game. She resolves to have an affair of her own. The problem is she has chosen an aging married prince as her partner, who is on a diplomatic trip to Paris.

Michel has no specific intentions of cheating on his wife and at first doesn’t take her stated payback seriously. But when Brigitte and the Prince Charles (Charles Boyer) both happen to disappear on the same day, his suspicions are aroused. Not only that, but if Brigitte and the Prince are linked together, it could create an international incident. Will this husband and wife reconcile before they create a political scandal? Continue reading “Foreign Film Friday -La Parisienne (1957)”

Foreign Film Review -For a Woman (2013)

SUMMARY

For a Woman is a recent French film which explores the dynamics of marriage, family and even politics. It begins as two sisters, Tania and Anne, go through their mother’s effects after her passing. This leads Anne into a further search into her parent’s history. The film then moves into the past and the main story line surrounding their parents Michel and Léna.

Michel and Léna are Russian Jews. They have managed to survive WWII and escape from the horrors of the concentration camp. Michel falls in love with Léna at first sight. But their decision to marry is more one of gratitude and necessity for her. They migrate to the French city of Lyon where they apply for citizenship, start a family and open a men’s clothing shop.

Their life is a contented one with Léna absorbed in raising their daughter and Michel joining a small group of Communists. Everything changes with the arrival of Jean, the man who claims to be Michel’s younger brother. Because Jean is Michel’s only remaining family, he is welcomed into their home. Though Jean and Michel reminisce about their childhood, Jean is less forthcoming with his role in the war and his current secretive activities.

As Jean’s stay with them drags on tensions mount and rise to the surface. Michel begins to question his brother’s political beliefs and purpose in France. Léna wrestles with her growing attraction to her brother-in-law and her increasing discontent with her life. When Jean’s undercover life finally catches up with him, it puts the whole family in danger.

For the full review, please follow me over to The Silver Petticoat Review.

Foreign Film Friday -Come What May (2015)

SUMMARY

Come What May takes place during the early years of World War II. In 1939 a German father and son escape to a little village in Northern France. The father warns his young boy to speak only in French and never in their native tongue as they hide openly in the small village of Pas-de-Calais. Unfortunately, Hans is soon arrested and his son Max is left in the care of the town’s school teacher Suzanne.

Months pass and Paul, the village mayor, receives distressing news about the German army’s advance into France. Gathering up the people of Pas-de-Calais, he convinces them to follow the French government’s earlier recommendation of voluntary evacuation to southern France. Young Max is devastated to leave the last place his father and he were together. Remembering his father’s promise to come back for him, Max leaves a message for his father on the school house chalkboard, telling him where he plans to go.

Meanwhile, the Germans attack the nearby city where Hans has been imprisoned. The jailers release all of the incarcerated and evacuate the city. During his escape, Hans meets Percy, a Scottish army captain who has recently seen his entire company slaughtered. The two men decide to travel together while they seek out Hans’ son.

To read my review of this film, please follow me over to The Silver Petticoat Review.

Foreign Film Friday -The Last Diamond (2014)

SUMMARY

Small time thief Simon has recently been released from jail when a friend introduces him to a group of criminals who request his help to steal the legendary Florentin diamond. Simon is reluctant to join up with people he knows nothing about, but the temptation is too much, so he agrees to be their front man.

Julia’s mother is a well-respected auctioneer who was supposed to have been in charge of the diamond sale but her unexpected and mysterious death has left Julia with the responsibility. The stakes are high for Julia to host a successful auction with her own job and reputation on the line.

Simon introduces himself to Julia as her mother’s private security consultant, slowly winning her trust and the inside information his gang of thieves need. But when they start Continue reading “Foreign Film Friday -The Last Diamond (2014)”

Foreign Film Friday -Ensemble C’est Tout (2007)

Audrey Tatou gained international prominence in the 2001 French film Amelie. Despite hearing about her gamine charm and comparisons to another Audrey (Hepburn), this is the first film of Tatou’s films that I have seen.

The French title is Ensemble, c’est tout and is based on a novel of the same name which translated to English means, together, that’s everything. But for some strange, inexplicable reason the English title is Hunting and Gathering.

SUMMARY

This romantic comedy is the story of three very different individuals, Camille, Franck (anyone else getting visions of Martin Short’s version in Father of the Bride?), and Philibert. Camille is living a dead end life, working in a minimum wage job, coping with her perpetually complaining mother, living in a barely habitable apartment and wasting away from lack of nourishment.

Philibert and Franck are roommates in the same building as Camille, temporarily sharing a luxury apartment owned by Philibert’s family. Philibert is shy and stutters, but is also intelligent, refined and kind. Franck is his complete opposite, angry, abrasive, overworked and underappreciated as a sous chef in a local restaurant.  On his only day off each week, he goes to visit his unhappy grandmother at the nursing home where she resides.

After a chance encounter one evening as they enter the building, Philibert and Camille become friends and after Camille becomes sick, Philibert moves her into the apartment he shares with Franck.  This does not sit well with Franck and upsets the balance in the apartment creating friction among the characters, particularly between Franck and Camille. Continue reading “Foreign Film Friday -Ensemble C’est Tout (2007)”

Foreign Film Friday -Romantics Anonymous (2010)

When the opening credits began with a French version of the song I Have Confidence from the Sound of Music, it set the tone and immediately convinced me that I would love this film.

A French-Belgian film originally titled, Les Emotifs Anonymes, Romantics Anonymous introduces us to Angelique, a woman crippled by shyness. We see her faint in her group meeting, for which the film is named, but she works up enough courage to attend her interview with the owner of The Chocolate Mill.

When we first meet Jean-Rene, he is introduced to us and to Angelique as a mean man, but it turns out he is also socially challenged and unable to deal with many simple human interactions. Although the interview between these extreme introverts is awkward, Angelique manages to impress him with her knowledge of chocolate and he offers her the job. The only problem is that she thinks that she will be making chocolate and he just hired her as a sales representative to help boost the shop’s faltering sales enough to keep it out of bankruptcy.

On her sales rounds, Angelique discovers that although their buyers think the chocolate is good, it is not exceptional and neither does it live up to current trends in the market. But she has a secret. Angelique is a gifted chocolatier who has had extreme success in the past with her chocolate recipes. The trouble is that she sold her chocolates anonymously. But with the shop in jeopardy, Angelique is convinced that she can help.

In the midst of the chocolate shop story line is a concurrent one about the relationship that develops between Jean-Rene and Angelique. As you can imagine, with their personality challenges it is a very awkward and bumpy path they travel. They are immediately stricken by one another, but their own insecurities keep cropping up as obstacles. Continue reading “Foreign Film Friday -Romantics Anonymous (2010)”