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Cinéfranco Film Festival 2008 - UPDATE #3

Poltergay
Directed by Eric Lavaine
FRANCE/93 MINUTES

Incredibly silly but rarely funny, Poltergay casts Clovis Cornillac and Julie Depardieu as Marc and Emma - a happily married couple who are sure they've found the bargain of a lifetime in a ramshackle old mansion. Problems ensue after Marc begins to notice some odd occurrences around the house - ie penis drawings start popping up on the walls and his jeans are mysteriously ironed - and it soon becomes clear that his cellar has been home to five flamboyantly gay spirits since their collective deaths in the mid-'70s. And because Emma can't see the apparitions, Marc decides to consult a psychiatrist and learns - to his horror - that he's probably gay. Following several "wacky" efforts at testing his doctor's theory, Marc - who has long since alienated Emma with his bizarre antics - finds himself forced to turn to the quintet of ghostly homosexuals for help in winning back his wife. Director Eric Lavaine generally does a nice job of infusing the proceedings with a palpable sense of style and the performances are all quite effective, and yet there is - from start to finish - virtually nothing here to hold one's interest. Despite the inclusion of an admittedly clever Cyrano de Bergerac-inspired sequence late in the picture, Poltergay has been hard-wired with a relentlessly low-brow sensibility that ultimately proves oppressive and one consequently can't help but wonder if something's gotten lost in the translation.

out of


Ma fille, mon ange (My Daughter, My Angel)
Directed by Alexis Durand-Brault
CANADA/86 MINUTES

Sort of a French-Canadian riff on Hardcore, Ma fille, mon ange stars Michel Côté as Germain - a successful politician who is furious to learn that his daughter (Karine Vanasse's Nathalie) is planning to participate in a live sex show on the internet. The majority of the movie subsequently follows Germain's efforts at tracking Nathalie down, as he finds himself forced to enter the seedy underground world of online porn. Infused with a time-shifting structure and a deliberate pace that periodically feels oppressive, Ma fille, mon ange leaves the viewer at arm's length for virtually the entirety of its first half - yet there admittedly does reach a point at which one is sucked into the irresistibly salacious story. There's a depth to Ma fille, mon ange that instantly sets it apart from its movie-of-the-week brethren, with the uniformly superb performances (Côté and Vanasse, especially) certainly going a long way towards cementing the film's mild success.

out of

© David Nusair