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Piles' Top 100 French Films - #100 now online! - 30/8/2010 10:10:32 PM   
Piles


Posts: 5545
Joined: 6/8/2007
From: Whalley Range


So, I wanted to do a list to pass some time and decided to go for a little more specific topic and something I hadn't exactly done before. I started compiling a list of French films I really liked and got to a hundred, so I figured that was a nice and round enough number to start this with. It'll probably get going around Wednesday, I expect. Hope you lot enjoy!


< Message edited by Piles -- 31/8/2010 9:52:16 PM >


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RE: Piles' Top 100 French Films - 30/8/2010 10:21:13 PM   
hiptobesquare_x


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From: A petri dish.
I am eagerly, well moderately eagerly, awaiting this.

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RE: Piles' Top 100 French Films - 30/8/2010 10:49:42 PM   
elab49


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These things come in 3s - who's up next?

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ORIGINAL: Deviation] LIKE AMERICA'S SWEETHEARTS TOO. IT MADE ME LAUGH A LOT AND THOUGHT IT WAS WITTY. ALSO I FEEL SLOWLY DYING INSIDE. I KEEP AGREEING WITH ELAB.


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RE: Piles' Top 100 French Films - 30/8/2010 10:55:07 PM   
Piles


Posts: 5545
Joined: 6/8/2007
From: Whalley Range
Homer is going to do a list of 100 stupid comments. He just did #100 in the Sokurov thread. I don't know how he's going to top it.

< Message edited by Piles -- 31/8/2010 8:24:06 AM >


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RE: Piles' Top 100 French Films - 31/8/2010 3:12:00 AM   
The Bicycle Thief


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Joined: 8/11/2008
There are 100? This should be illuminating. 

< Message edited by The Bicycle Thief -- 31/8/2010 3:13:25 AM >

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RE: Piles' Top 100 French Films - 31/8/2010 4:23:49 AM   
rawlinson

 

Posts: 45002
Joined: 13/6/2008
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Looking forward to this. 

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RE: Piles' Top 100 French Films - 31/8/2010 9:35:28 AM   
elab49


Posts: 54673
Joined: 1/10/2005
Well, there's Rohmer's entire filmography and then a few others added in I guess

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Deviation] LIKE AMERICA'S SWEETHEARTS TOO. IT MADE ME LAUGH A LOT AND THOUGHT IT WAS WITTY. ALSO I FEEL SLOWLY DYING INSIDE. I KEEP AGREEING WITH ELAB.


Annual Poll 2013 - All Lists Welcome

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Post #: 7
RE: Piles' Top 100 French Films - 31/8/2010 9:40:05 AM   
rawlinson

 

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I'm guessing it's one French list where Amelie won't be number one though. 

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RE: Piles' Top 100 French Films - 31/8/2010 5:49:50 PM   
Piles


Posts: 5545
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From: Whalley Range
Yeah, I like Amelie and used to love it, but my opinion on what makes a film great has changed drastically since then.

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RE: Piles' Top 100 French Films - 31/8/2010 6:09:38 PM   
BlueBalls


Posts: 1009
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From: Movie hell...
Ah, I need to buck up on my French cinema. This thread may turn out to be very useful.

I'm looking forward to it.

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RE: Piles' Top 100 French Films - 31/8/2010 6:11:57 PM   
Rhubarb


Posts: 24509
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quote:

ORIGINAL: Piles

Yeah, I like Amelie and used to love it, but my opinion on what makes a film great has changed drastically since then.


Pretention?

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RE: Piles' Top 100 French Films - 31/8/2010 6:34:04 PM   
Piles


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From: Whalley Range
Pretentious? Moi?

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RE: Piles' Top 100 French Films - 31/8/2010 6:37:56 PM   
Rhubarb


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Oui et clichéd.

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quote:

ORIGINAL: FritzlFan

You organisational skills sicken me, Rhubarb.



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RE: Piles' Top 100 French Films - 31/8/2010 6:52:20 PM   
Ultimo Lee

 

Posts: 1738
Joined: 17/7/2007
From: Manchester
Should be interesting

quote:

ORIGINAL: Piles

Yeah, I like Amelie and used to love it, but my opinion on what makes a film great has changed drastically since then.

So the inevitable question that you should face before doing a top 100

WHAT MAKES A GREAT FILM?

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RE: Piles' Top 100 French Films - 31/8/2010 7:10:40 PM   
Rhubarb


Posts: 24509
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Whether you like it.

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quote:

ORIGINAL: FritzlFan

You organisational skills sicken me, Rhubarb.



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RE: Piles' Top 100 French Films - 31/8/2010 9:39:39 PM   
Piles


Posts: 5545
Joined: 6/8/2007
From: Whalley Range


#100.
A PROPHET
(2009, Jacques Audiard)

One thing never strayed too far from my mind when I was watching Audiard’s critically acclaimed film, “Un Prophete”. Despite its wins at Cannes (the film took home the Grand Prix), and the fact that it is France’s official selection, it wasn’t the best French film I saw last year. That title, undoubtedly, goes to “35 Shots of Rum”, Claire Denis’ sublime Ozu-esque look at family life in modern France. However, it’s not hard to decipher why “Un Prophete”, the fifth film from Audiard, son of revered director and screenwriter Michael, has been chosen above “35 Shots” to be France’s competition film at the Oscars. It’s much more Academy friendly; faster paced, more epic, with a clearly defined lead character, and one plot strand that extends itself over all others. Yes, it was a wise decision from the French film committee to choose “Un Prophete”, because – unfortunately for Denis – it had much more of a chance of winning. Obviously, though, that didn’t go to plan for Audiard, so let’s move on…

“Un Prophete” is doubtlessly a film that will rivet a wider audience than the aforementioned Claire Denis film, simply because it has a fine story, with a great central performance, and impressive set pieces. It is a thriller where the thrills come, mostly, in the form of words rather than actions, and that is certainly a refreshing change. For a film that sits just the other side of a two and a half hour runtime, this is a bold move, but one that certainly pays off. Audiard’s film is concerned, mostly, with relationships rather than bullets. El Djebena begins to climb up the ladder by making connections, doing as he’s told, never rubbing too many people up the wrong way, and going about his own business. It’s an intelligent plot device; we’ve all seen prison dramas with fist fights (“the Escapist”) or gang rape (“American History X”, “the Shawshank Redemption”), but it feels somewhat fresh and original to see a film concerned primarily with in-prison politics.

And these politics are concerned with traits just as important – or existent, rather - on the outside as they are the inside; propaganda, prestige, racial purity, etc. Brawn rarely comes into it, and although we are treated to the obligatory man-on-man forced sexual encounter, “Un Prophete” is a war of minds and words, with all of these things playing their roles to create kings and jesters, princes and paupers. And that, I guess, is why “Un Prophete” has been so successful amongst critics and on the festival circuit; because it takes an old (sub)genre and turns it into a somewhat original film. However, there are certain things that even Audiard can’t escape; the aforementioned forced sex which – by now – seems a necessity in the prison film subgenre and has thus lost all of its impact, the silly masturbation scene which is neither funny nor worthwhile on the character progression front, and the ending, where machismo finally seems to seep through the otherwise well measured and maintained seams.

These flaws, though, are few and far between, and it is indeed important to note that “Un Prophete” remains an entertaining experience from beginning to end. It is nice to see a film this entertaining that includes a little bit of social commentary, but the main reason why you should go and see it is because it will rivet and entertain you from beginning to end. The prison is fantastically envisioned; imposing and dominating over a group of lost souls who, for the most part, meander between its walls with no purpose or drive. Most of the characters are well formed, particularly Niels Arestrump’s Cesar Luciani, who manages to escape the shackles and conventions of the modern day crime lord to become a character in his own right. He’s a manipulative presence, and one who gives you just enough to keep you close, but takes away just enough to let you know who is boss. And then there’s El Djebena, mercilessly played by Tahar Rahim, who is an intelligent and sympathetic protagonist who plays his cards so close to his chest, not even the audience can see what he’s doing half of the time. The performance of Rahim is certainly worth marvelling at. The best scenes of the film see him alone, in his cell, either talking to a dead man, practicing producing a razor blade from his mouth, or simply eating his dinner, alone, in despair. Rahim manages wonderfully in a role that requires him to be on screen for over ninety per cent of the one hundred and fifty minute runtime, and the performance is so well measured that the progression of El Djebena from a meek, lonely ‘new guy’ into a formidable player with his own network of contacts is a joy to watch.

“Un Prophete” is an exquisitely directed, well performed film that, whilst never managing to fully escape the accepted set of clichés associated with the prison movie subgenre, does manage to find originality in otherwise stale territory. The startlingly good central performance is the main hook, and Rahim deserved recognition in the Best Actor category at the Oscars for sure. It’s still not as good as “35 Shots of Rum”, though.



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RE: Piles' Top 100 French Films - 31/8/2010 9:51:47 PM   
elab49


Posts: 54673
Joined: 1/10/2005
OMG - it's not New Wave and it's not Rohmer generally and ....and..... and.... it's one I actually like!

In fact, almost perfect apart from saying 35 Shots was better.

What other Audiard have you seen?

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Deviation] LIKE AMERICA'S SWEETHEARTS TOO. IT MADE ME LAUGH A LOT AND THOUGHT IT WAS WITTY. ALSO I FEEL SLOWLY DYING INSIDE. I KEEP AGREEING WITH ELAB.


Annual Poll 2013 - All Lists Welcome

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Post #: 17
RE: Piles' Top 100 French Films - 31/8/2010 9:54:12 PM   
Piles


Posts: 5545
Joined: 6/8/2007
From: Whalley Range
quote:

ORIGINAL: elab49

What other Audiard have you seen?



Shamefully, none, except for the bits of The Beat That My Heart Skipped (and I've heard the Dan Le Sac song of the same title ). I once got pwnd by a french girl outside a pub who told me Godard has been dead since 1967 and that I sucked for not seeing enough Audiard. My friends laughed. It was brutal.

And 35 Shots of Rum IS clearly better . More on that later though!


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RE: Piles' Top 100 French Films - 31/8/2010 9:54:26 PM   
hiptobesquare_x


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From: A petri dish.
Nice review of a very good film, though I do prefer The Beat That My Heart Skipped (I think it's the concert pianist thing).

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RE: Piles' Top 100 French Films - 31/8/2010 9:58:29 PM   
elab49


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Piles

quote:

ORIGINAL: elab49

What other Audiard have you seen?



Shamefully, none, except for the bits of The Beat That My Heart Skipped (and I've heard the Dan Le Sac song of the same title ). I once got pwnd by a french girl outside a pub who told me Godard has been dead since 1967 and that I sucked for not seeing enough Audiard. My friends laughed. It was brutal.

And 35 Shots of Rum IS clearly better . More on that later though!



You should have told her she was almost right and that Godard was never born.

I'm more of a fan of Read My Lips - something that proves something often rare for directors who focus on such strong male characters, that Audiard is equally comfortable writing a strong female one. Beat is brilliant though. And Self-Made Hero.

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Deviation] LIKE AMERICA'S SWEETHEARTS TOO. IT MADE ME LAUGH A LOT AND THOUGHT IT WAS WITTY. ALSO I FEEL SLOWLY DYING INSIDE. I KEEP AGREEING WITH ELAB.


Annual Poll 2013 - All Lists Welcome

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Post #: 20
RE: Piles' Top 100 French Films - 31/8/2010 11:14:30 PM   
ElephantBoy

 

Posts: 8783
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I too really rate Read My Lips as well as TBTMHS.

Very good first review Piles.  It is a very raw, gritty and orangnal take on the prison thriller.  Although in some ways I must have been watching a different film from you as I don't remember it being very entertaining, rather grim from what I recall
Still to see 35 Shots Of Rum so can't comment on which is better.

Looking forward to the rest of the list as I myself have gone on somewhat of a French birge in recent months.

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RE: Piles' Top 100 French Films - 1/9/2010 2:23:00 AM   
rawlinson

 

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From: Timbuktu. Chinese or Fictional.
Very good start to the list. And the French girl was wrong about Godard, obviously.

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RE: Piles' Top 100 French Films - 1/9/2010 8:50:47 AM   
Piles


Posts: 5545
Joined: 6/8/2007
From: Whalley Range
quote:

ORIGINAL: ElephantBoy

I too really rate Read My Lips as well as TBTMHS.

Very good first review Piles.  It is a very raw, gritty and orangnal take on the prison thriller.  Although in some ways I must have been watching a different film from you as I don't remember it being very entertaining, rather grim from what I recall
Still to see 35 Shots Of Rum so can't comment on which is better.

Looking forward to the rest of the list as I myself have gone on somewhat of a French birge in recent months.


Yeah I didn't mean entertaining in a laugh riot kind of way, more of a riveting, more-centric-on-narrative kind of way, if you know what I mean.

Thanks for the comment.


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RE: Piles' Top 100 French Films - 1/9/2010 10:20:02 AM   
Gram123

 

Posts: 5537
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From: Reino Unido
I haven't gotten round to watching A Prophet yet, so I'm bypassing your first review...

Btw, what's the film in the thread's introductory image with the maneki neko cats in it?

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RE: Piles' Top 100 French Films - 1/9/2010 10:27:49 AM   
Miles Messervy 007


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Sans Soleil

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jamesbondguy:
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quote:

Deviation:
if it isn't ham, I'll eat a living pig.

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RE: Piles' Top 100 French Films - 1/9/2010 10:36:29 AM   
Gram123

 

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From: Reino Unido
Ah, ta, Miles.
It's something I'd heard the title of but had never previously investigated, and after a brief search, it sounds like an interesting watch. True to form, all it takes for something to pique my interest is to add a dash of East Asian-ness....

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RE: Piles' Top 100 French Films - 1/9/2010 1:28:23 PM   
homersimpson_esq


Posts: 20120
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From: Springfield
quote:

ORIGINAL: Piles

Homer is going to do a list of 100 stupid comments. He just did #100 in the Sokurov thread. I don't know how he's going to top it.


You're incorrigible.


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RE: Piles' Top 100 French Films - 1/9/2010 1:34:42 PM   
Pigeon Army


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quote:

ORIGINAL: homersimpson_esq

quote:

ORIGINAL: Piles

Homer is going to do a list of 100 stupid comments. He just did #100 in the Sokurov thread. I don't know how he's going to top it.


You're incorrigible.



Incorrigle?
He doesn't know the meaning of the word.


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Pigeon Army
Stop being mean to Deviation

No.

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RE: Piles' Top 100 French Films - 1/9/2010 2:18:30 PM   
homersimpson_esq


Posts: 20120
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From: Springfield
quote:

ORIGINAL: Pigeon Army

quote:

ORIGINAL: homersimpson_esq

quote:

ORIGINAL: Piles

Homer is going to do a list of 100 stupid comments. He just did #100 in the Sokurov thread. I don't know how he's going to top it.


You're incorrigible.



Incorrigle?
He doesn't know the meaning of the word.



He really doesn't.


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RE: Piles' Top 100 French Films - 2/9/2010 11:55:31 AM   
paul_ie86


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Good start to the list. First foreign film I saw in the cinema.

And 35 Shots of Rum is better.

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