Reading and French movies on trip to Burkina Faso

On the Air France flight I enjoyed (the standard on a 10 hour flight is low, but they were all better than Deadpool 2) several films (that incidentally I has never heard of):

Les derniers Parisiens: A low-budget film about a group of hustlers in the Place Pigalle area, centered around two brothers who own a bar, one recently released from prison (the the work that got them the bar) and the other trying to break out of the vicious circle of the low education grind. Almost all the characters are men; it is about how they talk, their dreams and strategies, and ultimately their defeat.

Razzia: Sometimes overly solemn and definitely very upper class take on “life” (five somewhat intertwined separate character portrayals) in Casablanca, including one of the last Jewish owners of a restaurant whose schtick is partly “Sam’s”. The lyrical portrayal of a Berber teacher who has an affair with a widow, and the denouement of their relationship, is lovely even though somoewhat cliche in this kind of movie. Still, some very good acting. Script could have been tightened up: too many shots of people staring directly into the camera with moving background music.

Camille Redouble:  An absurd sometimes quite bad movie about a middle-aged woman very unhappy, drinking herself into divorce and separation from everything that means anything to her, who gets a second chance, and wakes to find herself in the body of her younger self 25 years earlier. The time travel of course makes no sense at all and the film does not even bother with that. Instead, watching the main actress go from a dour frown to beautiful smile and grace over an hour is delightful.

Le Brio : Pretty stale drama about a young child of immigrants trying to make it in law school. With ambivalent and reluctant help from a cranky politically incorrect professor. Think I had seen some of the scenes in other movies, it was that familiar. Including a speech from the taxi driver boyfriend with heart of gold.

For reading, an old French novel that I picked up from one of the FAVL donation boxes, Francoise Sagan’s Dans un mois, dans un an, a breezy year in the life of young bourgeois Parisians (and some middle-aged- does she have to call the two 50 year olds “old”?). Pretty much the opposite of Les derniers Parisiens. These are the original chic-bubble Parisians…. the kind that Sagan and a culture industry created in the minds of people around the world, the image that was nicely captured almost as a parody by Jeff Goldblum’s wonderful cameo turn as an American professor in Paris in Le Week-end.

About mkevane

Economist at Santa Clara University and Director of Friends of African Village Libraries.
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