Thursday, 11 November 2010

World Film Festival Bkk - Jacques Doillon

The honourary director at the The Nation's World Film Fest this year is Jacques Doillon. There was a little workshop at the Alliance Francaise last week, with a little discussion between him, some students and Professor Gerard Fouquet. Jacques was funny, totally passionate and extremely natural, of course he was intense in a way but his message to the film students present was pretty clear, just do it, even with a little money, it is all possible and there is no need to descend to the realm of advertising as no good will come of it, really, not in the end, and all must save and support independent film. I especially enjoyed his imitations of the little girl Victoire who played Ponette in his film of the same name during the panel discussion.

I tagged along with Lee to the French ambassador's residence for the reception for Jacques, it was lovely, especially with the cool breeze that one only experiences this time of the year. There was a wedding next door at The Oriental, a rather big wedding as there were fireworks, it was rather grand, and a wonderful coincidence that there should be a light show perhaps for Monsier Doillon at the French Ambassador's Residence. I would've liked to think so anyway.

The first film I saw of Jacques' was couple days after the reception, on Saturday, called Mariage a Trois - a film with Pascal Gregory, Julie Depardieu, Louis Carrel and this red head who was rather gorgeous with a porcelain-like face and body reminiscent of a muse in Boticelli's paintings (less voluptuous though). Sure there was a lot of talking but it was funny, ironic and at points utterly absurd, in the way that they took each other so seriously, you could almost see the characters caricatures of themselves and Jacques having fun with it. . . indulgent in parts but not in the way that it went on and on as there was always action and movement, I felt that he reflected well the utterly narcissistic, neurotic nature of all those in the film . . . a screenplay writer, actors, an intern (the redhead muse upstairs) and a producer. A cute, little satire that left me thinking - whooa . .they are crazy, but kinda sweet. It was produced by Paulo Branco (the Portugese producer who is Andre's hero), I did not know who he was last summer when Andre invited me to dinner with him, so to see his name in the credits, and also Gregory Bernard's who is also OLT's partner, the funniest guy ever - I was pleasantly surprised at the smallness of the world. The film also left me feeling rather warm and fuzzy.

I saw Ponette the day after, one of Jacques earlier films. It was really sweet, the story of a 4 year old girl Ponette dealing with the sudden loss of her mother.

She was really brilliant, the little girl and how Jacques managed to film these children and their little world, the way they spoke and how they dealt with each other. I particularly loved one scene with the little girls discussing the marital status of their parents, such precocious little things trying to figure out what "celibataire" meant. I wonder why films like this are not made any more . . . maybe because they are not so tortured and it is a bit old-fashioned, I mean, it was a simple movie about a little girl and what she was going through, though really, the concepts of life, death, god, letting go, pain/love it was all there, albeit with little children. There was a passage discussing religion and certain stereotypes thereof, I thought that if that came out of an adult one would be pretty shocked at how risque it was, but not from kids, then it's funny. So maybe presenting loss and looking at the complexity of ordeals and issues through the eyes of a child gives the film not only life but a refreshing prespective on life, loss and love. The last line, "Maman, elle m'a dit appredre d'etre contente" (Mum, she said learn to be happy) says it all really, the perfect words to the perpetually brooding child. The film gives one hope that, no matter what, it is possible to be happy after a dreadful loss and that the world is not a sphere for perpetual brooding. Thank goodness for that. See you in Paris Jacques!

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