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Simple comme Sylvain, Goodbye Julia, L'Abbé Pierre... Films to watch or avoid this week

Drama by Monia Chokri, 1h51.

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Simple comme Sylvain, Goodbye Julia, L'Abbé Pierre... Films to watch or avoid this week

Drama by Monia Chokri, 1h51

The accent, obviously. It's a Quebec film with French subtitles. The couple, which is a complicated invention, would need it too. It's not Sophia who will say the opposite. This philosophy professor at a university for the elderly has lived peacefully for ten years with Xavier, a friendly and well-mannered intellectual. Routine weighs on him. She gives lessons on love, quoting Schopenhauer, Plato, Jankélévitch. She walks the talk by falling into the arms of the carpenter who is renovating their country house on the edge of a lake. This Sylvain in a trapper's jacket teaches him more than cabinetmaking. He recites Sardou's words to him. She thinks it's Rimbaud. He drinks beer, drives a pick-up, is proud of his Merovingian side. Sophia leaves everything behind. A new world opens up to her. This is not without squeaks. Dinners now hold their share of unpleasant surprises.

What makes Sylvain defend the death penalty like crazy? A guest demands to be called “ iel.” Welcome to the woke. Sylvain can't believe it. Sophia tries to contemplate the disaster with indulgence. In short, there is work to be done, and not just to repair the beams of the chalet. Plus, Sylvain is jealous as hell. His unsuitable marriage proposal excuses this flaw. With Simple comme Sylvain, Monia Chokri - who plays a friend of the heroine - plays with clichés, gives mouth-to-mouth to the old refrain of the difference in background, reveals herself to be a bit like the Woody Allen of La Belle Province . A devastating humor runs through this uninhibited love story, where illness does not need to intervene. Rhythm and accuracy of observation are the two breasts of this comedy where teeth grind. IN.

Also readOur review of Simple like Sylvain: love with saws

Sci-fi drama by Terry Gilliam, 2h10

Almost thirty years after its release, The Army of the Twelve Monkeys returns to theaters in a restored version. Excellent news. This is Terry Gilliam's best film. No doubt because it is the one that least resembles a Terry Gilliam film, despite some dross (the steampunk aesthetic of the future à la Brazil, the use of wide angles). The credit goes first to the couple of screenwriters Janet and David Peoples, already author of Blade Runner by Ridley Scott. Based on Chris Marker's short film, La Jetée, they imagine the Earth in 2035 emptied of its inhabitants by a mysterious virus. Only animals wander in the open air in the cities – Baltimore and Philadelphia serve as the backdrop for this dilapidated world. The survivors vegetate in the basement. Cole (Bruce Willis, shaved head and dazed look), a prisoner, is sent to 1996 to alert humanity and trace the source of the virus. He is thought to be crazy but, with the help of his psychiatrist (Madeleine Stowe), he follows the trail of the Army of the Twelve Monkeys, an organization suspected of being at the origin of the pandemic - Brad Pitt, amusing in a crazy daddy's son, plays the leader of this gang of anti-speciesists. Between time travel, romance and ecological anxiety, The Army of the Twelve Monkeys did not wait for Covid-19 to be worthy of interest. But today we see it less as a work of science fiction than as a visionary film. E.S.

Drama by Mohamed Kordofani, 2 hours

The first feature film by Mohamed Kordofani, an aeronautical engineer by training, opens with the 2005 riots in Khartoum, which occurred after the death of the leader of the Southern Christians, John Garang. In the surrounding chaos, Mona, a Muslim from the North, injures a little boy by knocking him over while driving her car and flees. When the child's father chases her home, Mona's husband, Akram, coldly shoots him dead. A falsified report makes him disappear. The searches of his wife, Julia, remain in vain. Guilt pushes Mona to hire Julia into her service, hiding her secret from her. Akram, for his part, is unaware that the new servant is the widow of the man he killed. The poor young Catholic woman from the South and her son, Daniel, move in with the Muslim couple from the North. The infertile wife, a former singer, goes to the club to attend concerts without her husband's knowledge and dressed in a niqab. Mohamed Kordofani mocks the racism and distrust of Northerners towards Southerners, who are mainly Catholic. It also highlights the weight of patriarchy and religious conservatism in Sudanese society. Facing Akram, a bond is formed between the two women, united under the same roof, at the time when a peace plan is signed between the Sudan People's Liberation Army, the SPLA, and the government in Khartoum. It is 2005, at the start of a transition period which led to the self-determination referendum and the secession of the South. In 2011, South Sudan became an independent state. Julia also emancipates herself when the truth finally comes to light in her employers' home. Peace will wait. A decade of civil war and nearly 400,000 deaths later, the country is going through a serious humanitarian crisis. Goodbye Julia is not in vain though. He digs up the roots of evil and tries to heal the wounds. E.S.

Also readOur review of Goodbye Julia: the horrors of Sudan from the perspective of femininity

Comedy by Kim Jee-Woon, 2h13

When Korean director Kim Jee-Woon was asked which film school he attended, he replied: “The Cinematheque school. » The Parisian institution could not thank him better by organizing a retrospective of his films and by offering him an armchair in his name in the Henri Langlois room on the evening of the preview of It's Turning in Seoul! Cobweb. It's the 1970s. Mr. Kim wants to remake the ending of his film. Problem: you have to go through the censorship authorities again. Production opposes this, he ignores it, and takes the opportunity to refilm scenes already in the can. He puts everyone on a bus, heading to the studios out of sight. None of the actors understand the ending, the main actresses hate each other. A supporting actor takes on a detective's raincoat, a role that made him famous. The censorship men, with their pointy shirt collars like mafiosi, will eventually show up. A few good glasses of alcohol will put them out of action for a while. But what chaos, this shoot! Nothing can stop Mr. Kim, played by the brilliant actor from Parasite and Good Stars, Song Kang-ho. Normal, he is convinced that he is holding his masterpiece. A true reflection on filmmaking, It's Filming in Seoul! Cobweb offers a mise en abyme where comedy is on all levels. The gags work well, but the flashbacks which serve to decipher the director's motivations and journey are too numerous. The whole thing would have benefited from being shorter. The decline in speed is inevitable. We will remember the end, a sequence shot worthy of a masterpiece. And especially the finale, which rewards moviegoers able to wait until the credits roll. F.V.

Drama de Tran Anh Hung, 2:25

Loosely inspired by The Life and Passion of Dodin-Bouffant, gourmet, by Marcel Rouff (1920), the film features a former magistrate who became a renowned gastronome (Magimel) at the end of the 19th century. In his castle, he works in the kitchen with the help of Eugénie (Juliette Binoche), a cook who has been working for him for twenty years. The first part looks like a “Top Chef” in costumes. Dodin, Eugénie, the maid Violette and the young apprentice Pauline prepare a generous meal, supervised by chef Pierre Gagnaire. The camera dives into the pans, going from filtering butter to cooking a rack of veal. Dodin then sits down with his notable friends. Notary or doctor, everyone has their own aphorism. Wine particularly inspires them. We expect to see Jean Dujardin tumbling with an oval ball under his arm (“Is there anything bad about vol-au-vent?”). A less anachronistic intrusion than it seems since rugby was introduced in France around 1875. The art of conversation is here reduced to an anthology of quotations. The guests put on the dishes and the pearls. A real challenge for the actors, bundled up in their frock coats and their starched lines. The women stay in the kitchen. We could be offended by this sexism but Eugénie, the epitome of voluntary servitude, knows how to stay in her place. While the satisfied bourgeois urge her to join them, she firmly declines: “At the table, I already converse with you through what you eat, what more can I say?” Dodin gawking at Eugénie. She leaves her door open some nights, others not. He wants to get married, she refuses, to a certain point. The Binoche-Magimel couple manages to move people when they stop talking about recipes. But their love must face illness and difficult dishes. Ortolans, brioche and stew, the stomach palpitates more than the heart. French director of Vietnamese origin Tran Anh Hung, Golden Camera in 1993 with his first feature film, The Smell of Green Papaya, pays homage to his host country. The service, with its embarrassing obsequiousness, and the menu, too rich and too greasy, unfortunately do not prevent indigestion. E.S.

Also readOur review of The Passion of Dodin Bouffant: taste buds of the nation

Drama by Frédéric Tellier, 2h13

He introduces himself: his name is Henri. We don't know if he wanted to succeed in life. Among the scouts, his pseudonym was “Meditative Beaver.” This totem suited the one the Resistance renamed Pierre. His name is Peter. Abbot stone. The Capuchins found it a little too fragile. Besides, the ladies troubled him. This makes him sensitive, human. At first he walks among the stars. This is a metaphor. She's clumsy. How do you talk about a myth? With Abbé Pierre. A life of struggle, Frédéric Tellier doesn't know where to start. He opts for chronology, unfolding the existence of his hero like a lazy baker rolling out his pie dough without taking his eyes off the recipe displayed in front of him. The founder of Emmaüs is a good guy. He has his faults, his doubts, his revolts. During the war, he courageously helped Jews cross the Alps. Then poverty hits him in the face. People are hungry; they need a roof. This will be his fight. The priest galvanizes his troop of ragpickers. The faithful Lucie Coutaz, who never leaves his side, calls him to order when he does too much. Behind her glasses, Emmanuelle Bercot has the quippy, down-to-earth side that is appropriate. The famous winter of 54 arrives. A black wind freezes the streets of Paris. The clergyman gets on his high horse. He storms the Assembly, shakes the elected officials. The deputies protest, leaflets fly from the balcony. The reconstruction sounds a little false. Why these “split screens” that appear for no good reason? What an idea to have sprinkled the story with poetic-dreamlike sequences! The character has his gray areas. This beautiful soul defends a collaborator that the crowd wants to lynch. Later, on television, he was accused of having supported an anti-Semite. The foundation is drowning in debt. Numbers are not his thing. The stewardship repels him. It's a star. He would have loved to be a saint. He wasn't like everyone else. He became a legend. It is the tragedy of man. This angry sage has seen others. Benjamin Lavernhe dons the cassock with courage and self-sacrifice, ages with heavy makeup, takes on a quavering voice over the years. The film is neither good nor bad, full of good will, with a flat, almost academic realism. IN.

Also readAfter Flo, L’Abbé Pierre. A life of struggle: God save us from biopics!

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