A very funny if mean-spirited French farce (1994) about the French film industry, with writer-director-star Michel Blanc (Menage, Monsieur Hire) playing himself. Boasting a certain metaphysical dimension as well as a satirical edge about the cult of show-biz celebrity and the decline of French cinema, this movie raises the possibility that vulgar look-alikes may be taking jobs away from the stars they’re imitating. Several international film personalities (ranging from Carole Bouquet and Philippe Noiret to Josiane Balasko, Charlotte Gainsbourg, and Roman Polanski) have been induced to play themselves (or is it their doubles?), and if you can overlook the offensiveness of a few jokes about rape, you’re likely to enjoy the boisterous energy and cascading anger. Incidentally, this won a prize at Cannes for best screenplay. (JR)… Read more »
Daily Archives: July 18, 1995
From the July 18, 1995 Chicago Reader. A perfect illustration of how cheerfully enslaved the New York Times has usually been to Harvey Weinstein’s cultural power and hype. — J.R.
From noted still photographer-turned-director Larry Clark and young screenwriter Harmony Korine, both making their screen debuts, a slightly better than average youth exploitation film (and grim cautionary fable about both AIDS and macho teenage cruelty) that hysterical American puritanism contrived to convert into big news. (The New York Times‘s Janet Maslin called this a wake-up call to the world — meaning, I suppose, that rice paddy workers everywhere should shell out for tickets and stop evading the problems of white Manhattan teenagers.) But if the news is so big, why does it sound like such tired and familiar stuff? And reviewers who claimed that this depressing movie takes no moral position about what it’s depicting must have been experiencing some form of self-induced shock, because taking moral positions is just about all it does. The photography is striking and the acting and dialogue seem reasonably authentic, if one factors in all the sensationalism, but let’s get real — this was at best the 15th most interesting movie I saw at the 1995 Cannes festival.… Read more »