Le Festival Du Noueau Cinema Day (Day 6)



Mike Leigh, one of the greatest directors alive, has built a career over lower British class dreams and nightmares. His filmography reads like a master class in cinema (Naked, Secrets & Lies, Happy Go Lucky) and add his latest, Another Year, to that list of his best movies. It's a real treat to watch Leigh direct a film such as this one, cause there really isn't any other filmmaker that does movies like Leigh does anymore. His way of making movies is simple, yet affective. He gives us a slice of life in British society, a melange of characters and vignettes that are designed to be character and societal studies. Another Year is a character study of 3 main people. A couple in their 60's called Tom and Gerri (played by Jim Broadbent/Ruth Sheen) and Mary, an alcoholic, depressed, middle aged woman that works with Gerri in an office an has a thing for her son.

Lesley Manville plays Mary and it's a knockout performance that will likely get awarded by year's end. Manville, in her fourth decade of acting and a Leigh regular, might have just given the performance of the year with this one. Another Year rests on the shoulders of her character as its dramatic and comedic centerpiece. Don't get me wrong, Broadbent and Sheen are incredibly subtle and effective but Manville does Leigh proud in investing her heart and soul into a destructive and touching characterization of alcoholism and depression. I loved how she could change the expressions on her face so effortlessly, it's a performance that goes along well with Leigh's bravura filmmaking.

Another film that has gotten much buzz here is Jean Luc Godard's latest, Film Socialisme- which I can't really explain cause, well I didn't really understand it + the buzz is mostly coming from the name Godard alone. I guess that's the point Godard was trying to make in his attempt to put out themes and stories that are clearly in his head these days. What themes might you ask? well I guess that's what I'm trying to say, the themes are never pronounced very clearly but only hinted at in context. It's a mess of a film but will clearly get eaten up by folks that have liked some of his later career fare, I haven't necessarily cuddled up to those films just so you know my stance. It's a real shame that Godard has resorted to making movies such as this one because you can still see immense talent in the shots he gives us in this film, there is a visionary flair that has not been lost over the years by the Breathless director. His lack of plot or story is a real shame, he refuses to gives us anything straightforward because, as I understand, he has lost all hope in contemporary movie making and probably thinks it is a lost art. To each his own I guess.
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