LFF review: My Life as a Courgette

My Life as a Courgette (dir. Claude Barras, 2016) ★★★★

my-life-as-a-courgette

Orphanages conjure up images of the hard-knock life and servings of gruel. This tough, deeply moving, Céline Sciamma-penned, 66-minute stop-motion gem from France shows the flipside. Sure, harsh realities are inevitably encountered — sometimes in a more uncompromising fashion than you’ll ever see in what is ostensibly a children’s film — but Claude Barras’ feature-directing debut has heart enough.

Review continues at The Film Stage

Cannes2014: Yes we cannes

We all know the glamour of the Cannes film festival, but do we know the hard-edged bitterness of a young film journalist without a press pass?

Now we will, because Franklblog’s off to the site of queues, heat, and €8 coffees. Join me from tomorrow for exclusive content from a reviewer without access to most of the films people want to hear about – exclusive because I’m just about the only one barmy enough to have done this.

Even so, and this is why I think it’s still worth going there’s a surprising amount on offer to those who haven’t been anointed with accreditation. I’m going to be covering the Director’s Fortnight, a strand fully open to the public, and also the fringe ACID strand, which premieres Adele Exarchopoulos’ first film since Blue is the Warmest Colour, last year’s Palme d’Or winner.

By all accounts, it looks like there’ll be films there that better Grace of Monaco.

Here are my five picks of films the plebs can see without those pesky passes:

Girlhood (Bande de Filles)

Girlhood

Not the French sequel to Linklater’s Boyhood, but the latest from Celine Sciamma – director of Tomboy and the exquisite Water Lilies – again takes us through the experience of a teenage girl through high school. This time  the main character is a black girl from a poor community, and this promises to be rather more politically charged than her previous two formalist, minimalist works.

Insecure (Qui Vive)

Insecure

The headline here is this is Adèle Exarchopoulos’ first feature since winning the Palme d’Or as an actress in Blue is the Warmest Colour. She plays the supporting role of the lover of a trainee nurse caught in the crossfire of gang warfare in his local community. Blue Movie, as I have come to call it, was such a unique acting performance – an astonishing leap into a bruising, incredible role – that’s it’s difficult to imagine Exarchopoulos in anything else. Will she prove that wasn’t a one-off?

Catch Me Daddy

Call Me Daddy

Brit director Daniel Wolfe’s thriller has sketchy details, but we know that it’s about a girl running away with her boyfriend. Probably not enough to make it required viewing, but from this picture (above), it looks a brooding, visually distinctive pic.

National Gallery

Frederick Wiseman’s modus operandi is long, painstaking documentaries, and this three-hour look at the Trafalgar Square institution looks no different. It took 2 years to make and might be a definitive look at what make our national museums – relatively unique across Europe in their free entry and massive public subsidy – some of the most visited sites in the world.

Whiplash

Whiplash

The audience and jury prize winner at Sundance, Damien Chazelle’s Whiplash comes with high praise already, not least because of JK Simmons’ fiery performance as a jazz drummer who teaches his pupils with unorthodox methods.

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