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A Journey in Pajamas, Cold Head, Like a Prince... Films to see or avoid this week

Dramatic comedy by Pascal Thomas, 1h29.

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A Journey in Pajamas, Cold Head, Like a Prince... Films to see or avoid this week

Dramatic comedy by Pascal Thomas, 1h29

Since that's how it is, he leaves. His wife cheats on him. He doesn't make a big deal out of it. Paul-Émile, known as Victor, gets on his bike and follows his rival's wife on the roads to Compostela. Long live the sabbatical years, this delicately charming literature professor seems to say. France is turning into a playground. It's a change from high school. The province must be traveled by all possible and imaginable means, bicycle (already mentioned), TER, Vespa and even barge. The journey allows the hero to find a host of former conquests. We feel that he broke up carelessly. He didn't mean anything bad. Surprises await you. We come across an SNCF free rider gently scolded by the controller, a lesbian couple wanting to have a son, a teacher converted to burglarizing notables. Anny Duperey rehearses her funeral. Louis-Do de Lencquesaing, jealous as hell, consoles himself with Les Contrebandiers de Moonfleet. This praise of the unexpected constitutes a praise of the aperitif, of chance encounters, of a certain sweetness of life. Carefreeness reigns supreme in this column which mixes quotes from Renoir (Auguste) and Buzzati (Dino), drunken meals and disenchanted discussions. There is a scent of extended vacations. Effort is prohibited here. Literary and good-natured, Pascal Thomas practices truant cinema. He markets right and left, an all-round arrow, shaking up the inertia of everyday life, pouring fantasy into the banality of days. This director has always been out of fashion. That's how you become a classic. The film is cheerful like a Trenet song, light like a Paul-Jean Toulet poem. This lightness, this cheerfulness are unforgivable sins. The Journey in Pajamas is fresh, natural, lively like a rugby player, obvious like a childhood memory. IN.

Also read Our review of Voyage en pyjama: aller simple pour l'amour

Drama by Stéphane Marchetti, 1h32

Marie is not a committed pro-migrant activist nor a professional smuggler. His motivations are neither political nor criminal, but a series of coincidences and small arrangements with reality to survive will lead him to pass to the other side of the law. Associated with Souleymane, a refugee, she will organize migrant smuggling to bring them into France from Italy. Stéphane Marchetti comes from the world of documentaries. In 2017, he directed a film about the children of the Calais jungle. In this first feature-length fiction film, he navigates the gray zone of our humanity, between opportunism and altruism, through the portrait of this woman who fights every day and always seems to make the wrong choices. On such a sensitive theme, he signs a raw and strong social thriller, without pathos or Manichaeism, carried by the magnificent duo formed by Florence Loiret Caille and Saabo Balde, discovered in Twist in Bamako, by Robert Guédiguian. V.B.

Also read: The film Cold Head, Florence Loiret Caille, the Calm and the Storm

Drama comedy by Ali Marhyar, 1h30

Francis I must be jubilant in his tomb. The Château de Chambord broke its annual attendance record with nearly 1.15 million visitors in 2023, an increase of almost 9% compared to 2022. Comme un prince should contribute a little more to the reputation of the national domain since the Renaissance castle serves as its main setting. His hero, Souleyman (Ahmed Sylla), however, has no reason to set foot there. Boxing champion, he is preparing for the Olympic Games. A fight in a bar cracked his hand and caused him to be excluded from the French team. To avoid prison, he must complete 400 hours of community service (TIG). He ends up at Chambord, on the garden side. His job is to collect dead branches and trash with a team of social cases. Among them is Mélissa (Mallory Wanecque), a fragile and rebellious teenager placed in a home. She has an easy and skillful punch. She catches Souleyman’s eye. He takes her under his wing, teaches her how to box. His dedication is not so selfless. Mélissa's success should allow her to rejoin the French boxing team, this time as a coach. Like a prince has a little Million Dollar Baby side in the castles of the Loire, with a boxing ring in the forest. But above all it is a comedy. It relies a lot on the humor and charm of its main performer. Ahmed Sylla (The Ascension, Inséparables, A Little Brother, Women of the Square) makes people laugh like a freeloader in livery and wig. When he puts on the armor to play the final duel of the Battle of Marignano, in Puy du Fou style, we are more in Monty Python than in Ridley Scott. But Sylla does not play solo. The supporting roles are perfect sparring partners for the comedian. Jonathan Cohen plays a cheerful probation officer, more focused on food than reintegration. Julia Piaton, responsible for the estate's events, remains the firm but caring schoolteacher of Petites Victoires. After teaching French to the illiterate student Michel Blanc, she gives a history lesson to Ahmed Sylla. Like a prince also has educational virtues. We thus learn that François I only lived at the Château de Chambord for seventy-two days during his thirty-two years of reign (1515-1547). Moreover, his tomb rests in the cathedral of Saint-Denis. At the idea that his royal residence remains so popular, he must still be jubilant. E.S.

Also readOur review of Comme un prince, a film in which Ahmed Sylla takes up the gauntlet

Drama by Yorgos Lanthimos, 2h21

In a few films (Canine, The Lobster, Killing of the Sacred Deer), Yorgos Lanthimos has earned a reputation as a misanthrope, adept at discomfort and sarcasm. Poor creatures play in the same yard apparently. It is inspired by a novel by the Scottish writer Alasdair Gray. It features Willem Dafoe as a surgeon with a scarred face and eccentric ideas. The mad scientist recovers the body of a pregnant woman who escaped drowning (a failed suicide) to replace her brain with that of her unborn child. The creature is sexier than Frankenstein since it has the features of Emma Stone. But she has the behavior of a wayward baby who stammers her first words and rides a tricycle around her London mansion. Dafoe hires one of his students to document the daily progress of Bella Baxter (that's her name), who is banned from going out. A debauched lawyer (Mark Ruffalo) makes her escape. They flee to Lisbon, then on a liner en route to Athens. Bella Baxter discovers the pleasures of the flesh. Between two somersaults, the beautiful ignorant reads books on the advice of Hanna Schygulla. But its emancipation occurs essentially through the body. The lawyer remains on the floor and Bella Baxter enters a brothel in Paris to continue her apprenticeship. Customers come one after another and have varied profiles. Baxter is reminiscent of Barbie discovering the real world, but more trashy and nymphomaniac. Emma Stone doesn't shy away from nudity. In all positions. Well not all, and the work of the intimacy coordinator is felt, transforming Bella into a lustful and mechanical doll. This sex education takes place in hideous settings, made of garish colors and digital effects. The film's dubious aesthetics are made worse by Lanthimos' abuse of the wide angle, or fish eye, which leads to distortion of the image. It's up to the viewer to show their endurance to make it through the 2 hours 21 minutes of this monstrous film, in every sense of the word.É.S.

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