Farewell, My Queen
Is there anything left to say about Marie Antoinette and the days before her head was lopped off? Miraculously, veteran French filmmaker Benoît Jacquot has found a new angle within the gated and isolated grandeur of Versailles. Far removed from the turmoil in the streets, his queen (a gloriously imperious Diane Kruger) is clearly “carrying on” with another society dame Mme. de Polinac (Virgine Ledoyen). The affair is jealously observed by a young reader to the Queen, Sidonie Laborde (Léa Seydoux) – clearly in awe and probably in love with Marie herself. The sexual tension threatens to more than just simmer, and rising star Seydoux is fantastic as the naïve (and ultimately betrayed) servant girl. Filmed almost wholly within the palace grounds, the revolution outside is only mentioned in conspiratorial (and ultimately panicky) whispers by the coiffed and perfumed toffs. As an intimate portrait of a decadent elite in its long overdue final days, Jacquot has transformed a well-known historical event into a magnificently mischievous drama. It’s also a moving and torrid personal story. M15+ from June 6.
Thanks to Transmission Films we have 10 double in-season passes to give away. See Giveaways page for details.
Happiness Never Comes Alone
At last Sophie Marceau gets to let her hair down and have some fun. As Charlotte in James Huth’s breezy crowd-pleaser we first meet her falling flat on her face in a puddle. The gags continue as her rescuer, Sacha (Gad Elmaleh, a popular French comedian) demonstrates his non-existent plumbing skills and tries to endear himself to her three children with magic tricks.
He’s a bed-hopping jingle writer living off his charm and wit, she’s a restless trophy wife of a ruthless businessman – and what follows is hugely entertaining in the tradition of the very best classic Hollywood screwball comedies.
The script is smart, the look is Boho chic, the pace exuberant – there is just so fun to be had in watching this nutty pair spar before succumbing to the inevitable “ahhhh… only in movies” moment. Actually, there’s a few of them, not the least Sasha’s to-die-for Parisian loft. Rom-com clichés abound, but we’re laughing so much we don’t notice, or care.
M15+ from May 30.
Thanks to Madman Entertainment we have 10 double in-season passes to give away. See Giveaways page for details.
Best of the Rest
The Great Gatsby
Forget the car industry, Australian taxpayers now have a far more worthy industry to subsidise, Baz Enterprises. And it makes more money. The Inner West especially can take great pride in The Great Man’s latest effort – there’s White Bay disguised as F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “Valley of the Ashes” still recognizable despite the hyperactive CGI. American critics sneered at Baz’s audacious treatment of their classic novel. The New Yorker called it a “disaster” and then sniped – “Shot in Australia” OMG, is that even possible? Ciao’s verdict: Great… Maybe. OTT? Definitely.
M15+ from May 30.
Sydney Film Festival Pick
Greetings From Tim Buckley
Everyone who bought CDs in the 90s owns a copy Jeff Buckley’s Grace. Fewer may know that Jeff’s dad Tim (who he never met) was also an agonisingly beautiful and talented singer-songwriter. He had a similar vocal range too, and also died tragically young – from heroin.
Being the 70s, that instantly generated a cult following. Daniel Algrant’s drama takes us back to a 1991 tribute concert in Brooklyn and to Jeff, an uncertain and often arrogant young man grappling with all that his wayward father left him – including that amazing talent. Jeff stuns the crowd, and two years later recorded Grace.
Penn Badgley does the honours (sings too), while Imogen Poots plays an invented gal pal. She’s gorgeous, who cares if she actually existed in his brief life? The music is (of course) divine.
Reviews by Russell Edwards