A Virtual Gentleman’s Club
Let me make a confession. I am not a natural blogger – that is I don’t have a cause to campaign for and I don’t have a totalitarian or authoritarian state to undermine (the current British government seems capable of doing that without my help!). So being an artist and author I thought that this space might serve as more of a virtual Gentleman’s Club where I can share my enthusiasm for books, music and movies that may have passed you by for one reason or another and, in turn, you might care to post your recommendations for me and other visitors to this site to consider and comment upon. It’s something I can’t do in the context of the PRAS newsletter which is really only to inform members of upcoming album releases and projects that I am working on.
So sit back in your armchair with something stimulating to drink and perhaps a cigar and we’ll begin….
A few years ago I undertook some “research” into the subject of French cinema for a song that I was writing, just to get me into the milieu as they say, and along with the more familiar films (Les Enfants du Paradis, La Belle e la Bette etc) I discovered some delightful lesser known items which I can warmly recommend.
Unlike Hollywood, which uses people as collateral damage in endless car smashes, explosions and shootings or forces them into dysfunctional family situations in a contrived effort to tug at our heart strings as they rediscover American values and share their most intimate feelings before one or more of them dies of a terminal illness, French film makers tend to treat their idiosyncratic characters as fascinating and complex personalities. There is a certain fatalism and a wry sense of Gallic humour in many of their films and a fascination in small, telling details.
Roland’s French Movie Menu a la carte –
- Comedies – Les Ripoux (aka le Cop, aka My New Partner 1984), Le Diner De Cons (2002), Le Cage aux Folles (1980), Le Placard (The Closet, 2001)
- Drama – Le Chateaux De Ma Mere and its companion La Gloire De Mon Pere (enchanting Edwardian tales of childhood innocence), Le Bossu (17th C swashbuckler – catch the 2006 remake with Daniel Auteuil not the original with Jean Marais), Pepe Le Moko (Starring Jean Gabin), Le Jour Se Leve (also Gabin. Director Marcel Carne)
- Crime – 36 (starring Daniel Auteuil and Gerard Depardieu), Sweat (starring Mark Long and Robert Garcia), Wages of Fear (Director Henri-Georges Clouzot, 1953), Rififi (celebrated for its silent robbery sequence. Director Jules Dassin, 1954), Touchez Pas Au Grisbi (Jean Gabin. Director Jacque Becker, 1953), Bob le Flambeur (Director Jean Pierre Melville) and Le Circle Rouge (another slow burning Melville crime thriller but this one stars Alain Delon)
- Horror – Les Diaboliques (atmospheric Hitchcockian thriller directed by Henri-Georges Clouzot, 1954), Brotherhood of the Wolf (gorgeous cinematography and painterly scenes. Director Christoph Gansi) and The Crimson Rivers (graphic violence and gruesome details but visually stunning. Starring Jean Reno).
Those were just some of my suggestions. Perhaps you have some recommendations?