Saturday, June 4, 2005

a very long weekend

I haven't been online in a couple of days as my "39 new emails" reminds me. I've been through a hell of a roller coaster emotions-wise this weekend and so I've decided to split this blog post in half. Those who read personal stuff can scroll a little further down to read about my ride. Those who don't can read a review of A Very Long Engagement (Un Long Dimanche de Fiancailles).

Those who have seen Amelie and the poster to AVLE don't really need much more to want to watch the movie. Anything with "From the director of 'Amelie'" and Audrey Tautou written on it is enough to make even a skeptic a believer. I was expecting disappointment from the beginning since Amelie has set such a huge shadow on any future endeavors for the two but I was wrong. So wrong. It's hard not to compare the two movies. Both have orphans, same director, same actress, blah blah so I'll try not to go over the board.

Although some common elements in the two movies can be spotted (quirky biographies and things that people enjoy), the treatment of the films are very different. While Amelie is so optimistic, the wartorn scenery and colors of AVLE provides the depth it required. Even the lead characters (Mathilde and Amelie) seem so different despite Audrey playing them both. I'll go into detail with that later.

It's a movie that'll make you feel hopeless even though every lead seems like a dead end. "Never Lose Hope" is such a fitting tag line since it encourages the audience to do the same.

It's sad how this movie was disqualified in Cannes for being shown outside France. Seems like France doesn't like it either. A Paris court ruling prevented the movie from receiving State financial aid reserved to French movie production companies because it was produced by a company owned by Warner Bros. hence not a French company. (IMDB)

It took me quite a while to get a hold of the movies since I was waiting for the local pirates to get a clue and get it already. I mean, hello? The DVD was out even before they showed it here. The opening credits said it was completed in 2003. The first DVD came out last year and the Philippine version came out early this year. That's three whole years! Finally, the pirates released a bare bones version meaning no special features except for the trailer of Boogeyman which held no relevance whatsoever. I'm thinking if I should order a copy online if only to see more about the movie. Hmmm...

What surprised me the most is a very small role of a Polish immigrant who had an affair with two best friends. That whole scenario could've been a movie in itself. At first, I was thinking 'that French woman is hot!' only to find out that 'that French woman' is actually Jodie Foster. I really didn't like her older movies. Everything seemed too commercial from the Asian inspired Anna and the King to the ridiculously boring Panic Room. Now, whenever my friends talk about her, I will no longer cringe but instead smile and remember her stunning performance in this movie.

Many people didn't appreciate this movie's complexities. I myself enjoyed rewinding and fast forwarding to different parts of the movies, amused by how each detail is utilized. If you as much as blink and miss a name or an event, you'll find yourself confused. It took a lot of will power to digest the movie, not that it was as distasteful as Grande Ecolé, but each name leads to a new event that could somehow lead Mathilde to her beloved fiancé.

Audrey Tautou proves yet again that she is an awesome actress. She is barely recognizable in the three films I have seen her in. In "God Is Great and I'm Not", she's annoying and perfect for the role. In "Amelie", she's quirky in a fun way like Phoebe Buffay without going overboard. In AVLE, she's sensitive and the fact that she limps with polio makes that little vein in your heart go throb throb.

A relative newbie in many people's eyes (including mine) is Gaspard Ulliel who plays Manech, the other half of the engagement. He looks like a French Matt Damon during the Ripley-days. He seems so boyish and innocent and has starred in a lot of movies including the sadly underrated Brotherhood of the Wolf (with Monica Belucci). He's supposed to be five months shy of 20 in the movie and being born in 1984, that's pretty accurate. It's surprising how he acted with depth considering how young and experience-less he is.

Marion Cotillard can do no wrong. After captivating audiences in her small role in Big Fish, she returns again as the vigilante lover of a soldier. Although she pulls a Björk ala Dancer in the Dark in the movie, she still added a lot of interesting scenes in the movie. Quite different from her teeny role in Big Fish.

Knowing that it is a Jean-Pierre Jeunet movie, one can't help but feel that this movie will end happily. But unlike the treatment of some of Hollywood films (The Perfect Storm, Cast Away; watch the trailer, you've seen the movie), this movie doesn't make the story too blatant that watching it will seem totally pointless. It's like you know they will end up together but there's always a voice in your head that makes you uncertain. Although the ending is a bit open ended, it was too open ended that it would annoy the people watching. It almost feels like a memoir written by the great protagonist and as delightful as a JPJ movie. :D

Okay, that's about it. Now for my weekend. This weekend is very long. Aside from getting the worst haircut ever (think Roxette circa early 90's), I had to enroll and stand in line for hours. UST is so inept when it comes to enrolment. Grrrr…

But my day started at breakfast when I had to get money in the ATM for my tuition. Already feeling horrible that we had to spend so much money for my ceiling high schooling, I withdrew too much money leaving Mom with a pending bouncable check. I felt so horrible and adding to the already bad situation was my mom calling me an idiot for assuming too much. Long story that I don't want to go too deep into.

I felt super horrible and I was looking forward to the overnight stay I was to have with my friends. I asked my dad really nicely and he responded with cussing and scolding and embarrassing me in front of the visitors from church. I felt so bad when the pastor was talking about self-pity and how the mind can make you hopeless. All that was ringing in my head was 'no one's here to have pity and comfort me so I might as well do it on my own': the masturbatory mantra.

This morning, my dad didn't apologize but after my sisters told him what really happened and were semi-scolding him for treating me horribly, he talked to me and though we never talked about last night, we dealt with it like we always do: under rug swept.

I feel a lot better now although I'm not happy last night happened. Right now, I'm more embarrassed about how my friends were quasi-waiting for me last night only for me to bail out on them. Nothing a pound of vanilla-milk chocolate hybrid Kisses won't solve. Mmmmm…

1 comment:

  1. I loved this movie because of two things:

    1. because I've seen its premiere with someone really special, and;

    2. because it taught me to, as you put it, "never lose hope" on anyone I'll ever love.

    I loved the last scene... and the last lines of the male lead, which I might be paraphrasing, "Does it (referring to Audrey Tautou's leg) hurt when you walk?"

    Haaayyy... hope blossoms!

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