Cinefranco Film Festival 2005 - UPDATE #3
Au secours, j'ai trente ans!
Directed by Marie-Anne Chazel
This plotless comedy/drama follows the exploits of three 30-something friends - Yann (Pierre Palmade), Kathy (Giovanna Mezzogiorno), and Tara (Nathalie Corré) - as they deal with the news that Yann has cancer, a revelation that forces Kathy and Tara to make some changes in their lives. Au secours, j'ai trente ans! is pleasant enough, though far from engaging; the film runs out of steam about an hour in, thanks to an abundance of superfluous subplots (Kathy's late-in-the-third-act reunion with an old flame is the most obvious example of this). It also doesn't help that Kathy winds up with a verbally abusive jerk, a move that doesn't make a whole lot of sense given the character's fierce independence. It's the better-than-expected performances that keep Au secours, j'ai trente ans! from becoming an entirely interminable experience, as the actors effectively breathe life into these sporadically intriguing characters.
Je n'aime que toi (My Only Love)
Directed by Claude Fournier
Je n'aime que toi follows aging novelist Georges Guérin (Michel Forget) as he befriends a hooker named Daisy (played by Noémie Godin-Vigneau), though their relationship initially has nothing to do with sex (Georges hires Daisy on an hour-by-hour basis to just talk about her experiences). Georges, in turn, uses said material as fodder for his new book, but soon finds himself experiencing some decidedly inappropriate feelings towards Daisy. Writer/director Claude Founier imbues Je n'aime que toi with a ponderous, heavy-handed vibe, something that's exacerbated by an excruciatingly slow-pace and Jorane's overbearing musical score. Though the performances are actually quite good, neither Forget nor Godin-Vigneau is able to breathe much life into this dialogue - which doesn't sound even remotely authentic (nobody talks this way).
Directed by Frédéric Schoendoerffer
When one envisions a film starring Vincent Cassel as a spy, all that's really necessary are countless sequences in which: Cassel runs after people; interrogates suspects using needlessly violent methods; talks back to his superiors; etc, etc. With Agents Secrets, though, what we get is a slow-paced drama involving a long, drawn-out mission and the consequences that occur when it goes awry. At a running time of close to two hours, there's less than five minutes worth of action - with the remainder of the film devoted to endlessly dull sequences in which characters plot their next move and surreptitiously maneuver their way through the streets of Morocco (elements that very well may be a part of an actual spy's life, but are about as exciting as watching paint dry). Cassel's electrifying performance is undoubtedly the only intriguing aspect of Agents Secrets, though he's not given a whole lot to do other than look menacing.