Category Archives: France

Pick or Pan of the Week: “White Material”

trailer reviewsPICK White MaterialA French drama directed by Claire Denis and starring Isabelle Huppert which tells the arresting tale of a daring woman who is trying to run her family’s coffee plantation in an African country that is being ravaged by violent civil strife. White Material is a powerful and engrossing film with a stunning performance from one of France’s most respected actresses.

“A striking film filled with images that sometimes reveal their full meaning only when their beauty curdles in the chain of signification.” ~Manohla Dargis

The New York Times – full review


Leave a comment

Filed under Drama, France

“Séraphine” Trailer Review: Artsy, French, and Exquisite

Seraphine trailer reviewTrailer Review: Winner of Best Film at France’s 2009 Cesar Awards, Séraphine is the beguiling biopic of Séraphine de Senlis, a deeply spiritual cleaning lady with an artistic aptitude reminiscent of Van Gogh – kind of a like the French, female edition of Good Will Hunting. This exquisitely crafted film stars Yolande Moreau in the title role and Ulrich Tukur as Wilhelm Uhde, the German art critic and collector who esteemed Seraphine’s savoir faire for colorful canvases.

Today, with her paintings adorning the walls of some of the most famous art galleries in the world, Sérphine de Senlis is revered as a gifted artist. While working as a housekeeper at the dawn of the 20th century, however, Séraphine was regarded as a bit of an oddity by her employers and the local townsfolk. That is, until she started cleaning house for Wilhelm Uhde, the famed art collector who helped launch the careers of many notable artists, including Pablo Picasso and Henri Rousseau. Upon Uhde’s discovery of Séraphine’s visionary renderings of nature’s beauty, a touching, albeit unlikely, friendship developed between the avant-garde art collector and his cleaning lady. While Séraphine’s standing in the art-world is largely thanks to Uhde’s championing, the tumultuous events that ensued during their relationship really put the resiliency of the human spirit to the test for everyone involved.

SeraphineThe trailer for Séraphine includes only very concise and spaced-out instances of French dialogue, with the trailer’s mid-section using almost no words at all. After Séraphine reveals with child-like mystique that she has her own little secrets, the middle portion of the trailer transports the viewer into Séraphine’s private world, relying on lighthearted images and a jaunty piano score to create a sense of rapture. The music’s tenor soon takes on a more haunting tone, however, as the dialogue returns when a nurse asks Séraphine if everything is alright in her mind.

Suspended in a purgatory between the threshold of madness and the call for greatness, Moreau is excellent in the role of Séraphine, playing the part of the sensitive but tormented artist with transcendent lyricism. As a woman who is plagued by an intensely private spiritual struggle, the trailer is very effective at conveying Séraphine’s vulnerabilities with affecting simplicity, making Séraphine definitely worth a watch.

Not rated by the MPAA

Check out the trailer for Séraphine. What do you think?

Leave a comment

Filed under Biopic, France