Wednesday, May 31, 2006


"Once everyone knows what everyone else did, we'll have no choice but to forgive each other!"

In the remote village of Grande Ourse (Great Bear), the leader of a local witch convenant is found dead. The regular TV signal becomes replaced with rabbits and personal thoughts from local inhabitants are being broadcasted at unexpected times. Thoughts and opinions that would have been better left unknown. People start to die and tensions are mount in the little village where TV is the only entertainment available. Desperate for help, the Mayor calls on the Department of National Security. People are increasingly turning to witchcraft, while details about a classified research project that took place in Grande Ourse many years ago are slowly being revealed.

Definetly one of those weirdo movies. Scary stuff with doses of sadistic humour.
Since this one is a series, I'm yet to see one other episode.



Six connected French films (with English subtitles); director of photography, Andre Turpin; edited by Richard Comeau; music by Michael A. Smith; production design by Pierre Allard; produced by Roger Frappier.

THE TECHNETIUM, written and directed by Denis Villeneuve.
AURORE AND CREPUSCULE, written and directed by Jennifer Alleyn.
COSMOS AND AGRICULTURE, written and directed by Arto Paragamian.
BOOST, written and directed by Manon Briand.
JULES AND FANNY, written and directed by Andre Turpin.
THE INDIVIDUAL, directed by Marie-Julie Dallaire and written by Ms. Dallaire and Sebastien Joannette.

A scruffily handsome young filmmaker (David La Haye) walks into a Montreal coffee place and downs one espresso after another while madly scribbling words (''cinema, hostages, Cambodia, time dragging'') in his notebook. Later we learn that he's almost unbearably nervous about going on a television talk show to discuss his film.

His anxiety turns out to be justified. The television studio is as loud and frantic as a 1970's disco. The filmmaker's name is Morille, but everyone keeps calling him Maurice. The producers promise Morille ''an in-depth two-minute interview,'' tell him how lucky he is to be following a group called the Cyberdogs (''from garage band to megaband in a week,'' the pretty, fast-talking host reports) and insist that the show's hairdresser, Tekno, give him a new look. This all prompts Morille to freak out, grab Tekno's razor on camera, take the host hostage and threaten to shave her head.

''The Technetium,'' written and directed by Denis Villeneuve, is one of six stories that make up ''Cosmos,'' a skillful, satisfying black-and-white Canadian film with classic art-house style. Rather than six short films, however, ''Cosmos'' is one film with multiple stories, which come and go and make connections like subplots in a television drama series.

In ''The Individual,'' directed by Marie-Julie Dallaire and written by Ms. Dallaire and Sebastien Joannette, a quiet, somehow ominous young man carries a street-florist bouquet wrapped in plastic everywhere he goes. Whenever a woman walks out of camera range, while the man is browsing in a women's clothing store or apartment hunting, the audience fears for her safety. Eventually a radio news program explains why.

In Andre Turpin's ''Jules and Fanny,'' a young man in a hotel lobby is obsessed with two possibilities: that he is living in ''the age of the death of matter'' and that he'll be allowed a glimpse of his old girlfriend's new breasts. He (Alexis Martin) has a nude scene; she (Marie-France Lambert) doesn't. Mr. Turpin is also the cinematographer of ''Cosmos,'' which is a very good-looking film.

In Manon Briand's ''Boost,'' a young woman with borrowed-car trouble is determined to cheer up a friend who has a clinic appointment that day to find out, finally, whether he's H.I.V.-positive or negative.

In Jennifer Alleyn's ''Aurore and Crepuscule,'' a ripely beautiful young woman, stood up on her 20th birthday, meets a gracious, much older man outside a movie theater and spends an enchanting evening of billiards, foot massage and cross-generational admiration with him.

Finally, in Arto Paragamian's ''Cosmos and Agriculture,'' the taxi driver who has four of those characters as passengers (and helps a fifth with jumper cables) in the course of a workday, eventually has his own problems. Unfortunately, this, the final segment, deteriorates into a silly car chase.

''Cosmos'' is more cerebral than that overall, and its questions are often answered symbolically rather than directly. Yannie (Marie-Helene Montpetit), waiting outside the AIDS clinic for Joel (Pascal Contamine), starts playing with the windshield wipers, even though the car battery failed earlier in the day. Whether or not the car goes dead again seems powerfully significant.



Searching for their history, the main characters of Exils hit the road for home. Hollywood’s highway is littered with road movies. The American Dream in film has been mobilized by car culture, its rebel heroes enthralled by the lure of the asphalt horizon, the freedom of finding oneself while always moving on, and the pursuit of happiness just around the next bend. But beyond the well-paved paths of the Tinseltown version, directors like Walter Salles have carved a career out of very different kinds of road movies. Central Station was about leaving behind what you’ve found as much as reaching the bittersweet end of the road, while The Motorcycle Diaries followed Che Guevara’s bumpy route to political revolutionary. (Little surprise, then, that Salles has been brought in to film Coppola’s long-held rights to an adaptation of that iconic and iconoclastic American classic, Jack Kerouac’s On The Road.) There’s also French director Tony Gatlif, whose own rather beatnik, scruffy take on the roving life of the traveller, Exils, is a vibrant, luscious travelogue that will have you gladly surrendering to its offbeat rhythm. Gatlif is best known as a chronicler of those peripatetic people, the Gypsies (Gadjo Dilo, Swing), but here he looks at two Franco-Arabs, Zano (Romain Duris) and Naïma (Lubna Azabal), who decide to return to their homeland. Most road movies offer an extensive preamble before setting off, but here, after the camera pulls back from the textured map of Zano’s naked back and we see Naïma frolicking in bed to the political rap echoing around his Paris apartment, Zano asks, “Wanna go to Algeria?” Moments later, they’re off and we’re tagging along for the joyful ride. Zano and Naïma cavort sensually en route, washing each other’s hair, drinking water from leaves and generally roughing it with a wild, erotic energy; the film exudes a tactile sensuality as fingers trace skin, peel an orange, or strum out a beat. And there’s always music: Naïma dances recklessly to a tune in a soccer field, Zano listens to techno on headphones as he picks fruit, the couple watch Flamenco in Seville, and the film’s penultimate scene is a 10-minute, orgasmic rush of trilling and drumming in a sweltering, pulsating room somewhere in Algiers. Cinematographer Céline Bozon gives us visual road poetry, offering luminous, starkly framed shots of the French and Spanish countrysides or long, telescopic views of highways and fields. Zano and Naïma share an irrepressibly raucous, raunchy spirit, and Gatlif imbues the film with a bohemian, counter-culture energy that never lessens when the film enters North Africa. West and East simply have their own, different methods of restraint and release, he suggests. On this cross-cultural, two-way trek, the nomadic pair meets an Algerian brother and sister, Leïla (Leïla Makhlouf) and Habib (Habib Cheik) who are travelling to Paris. Zano and Naïma do seasonal work in an orchard for extra money among illegal workers, then sneak onto the wrong boat to get across to North Africa. Once in Morocco, the camera takes in the dusty, austere landscape and the film becomes overwhelmed by people: crowds of earthquake survivors searching for a safer haven, long queues of Algerians outside shops or at taxi stands, and a throng assembled to listen and dance to musicians’ throbbing beats. Underneath Zano’s and Naïma’s fiery, stormy relationship, though, lay some painful scars. Zano, orphaned by a car accident, is returning to Algiers to see his family’s home, while Naïma seems to have been pimped off as a teenager and has never been taught Arabic—“I’m a stranger everywhere,” she says. In the film’s elegiac final scene, music links past and present as the pair move on, still trying to recover themselves. Exils, with its snapshots of life in perpetual motion, is a road movie stripped to its existential core. But Gatlif’s film is also about taking a trip back home and realizing that the future isn’t just a far-off, rosy horizon, but a distant place you can only struggle towards after revisiting your past haunts and present troubles, after reconciling yourself with your ancestry and tradition. Written and directed by Tony Gatlif Starring Romain Duris and Lubna Azabal



In this comedy, director Patrick Timsit plays a modern-day Quasimodo accused of 17 murders. The film uses the classic story of The Hunchback of Notre Dame to show the comic side of such everyday things as portable phones, Nintendo games, and the World Cup. The screen is always bigger and funnier than life, but the director tries to make a point that observation of life is enough to come face to face with corporal as well as verbal comedy. Using burlesque, he tries to create a more thought-provoking comedy. The highlight of the film was the discovery of a new Brigitte Bardot, Melanie Thierry, alias Esmeralda.

Patrick Timsit - Quasimodo
Richard Berry - Frollo
Mélanie Thierry - Esméralda / Agnès
Vincent Elbaz - Phoebus
Didier Flamand - The Governor
Axelle Abbadie - The Governor's Wife

The movie does get depressing in the middle. But Patrick Timsit deserves all the credit for your laughs! Enjoy!!


Music influenced thoughts!

What do you tend to think of when you listen to a particular genre of music? I know it could sound weird, but most of those "flashes" or "brainwaves" take place only with a stimulus like music.
For example, a song like Linkin park's Faint or Somewhere I Belong makes me think of a commercial using this track as the background score. If nothing else, i just visualise a live performance, sometimes with myself as a performer, too. Or else, it can just be a simulated music video i tend to create in my mind, eyes tightly shut, and i happily concentrate on that. Does this happen to everyone, i wonder.