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4 Months, 3 Weeks, 2 Days


Festival Nouveau Cinema de Montreal, Oct. 10-21st, (514) 844-2172


So far, A & O film critic Sylvain Richard has seen the following films. Here are his ratings and comments, always out of 4, reserving 2.5 or more for a noteworthy film, 3.5 for an exceptional film, 4 for a classic.


Sylvain RichardAmong Sylvain Richard's best ever films = (The Legacy, The Diving Bell & the Butterfly, 13 Tzameti, Sauf le Respect que je vous Dois, Live & Become, 36 Quai des Orfevres, Corsica, From Heaven, Hell in Tangier, Camaron, Who Are You, King of the World).


2.9 -- A CHRISTMAS TALE, Arnaud Desplechin
Complex Altmanesque drama of a dysfunctional family reuniting for the holidays in order to attend to the matriarch's need for a bone marrow transplant. Top notch performances all around. Subtle humour abounds in this tragic tale. Eclectic score perfectly captures the many moods of this fine film. Editing a bit confusing at times.

2.0 -- MARK OF AN ANGEL, Safy Nebbou
Psychological thriller on the theme "This child is mine." Potentially compelling performances yet predictable & lacking in intensity.

2.4 -- WHAT IF...?, Lea Frazer
Office romance VS career advancement in a prestigious law firm. Told from two parallel scenarios depending on "who got promoted." Fine performances, timely humour, but confusing editing.

2.3 -- LA VIE D'ARTISTE, Marc Fitoussi
Three intersecting storylines -- three aspiring artists ( singer, writer & actress) seeking their big break. Uneven yet entertaining.

2.7 -- LET'S DANCE, Noemie Lvovsky
Eccentric comedy backed by nifty jazz score from Archie Shepp. Thoroughly entertaining, well scripted. Hilarius moments, especially the satarized fantasy memory of Hitler being killed in his sleep by the leading character.

2.6 -- TWO LIVES PLUS ONE, Idit Cébula
A woman in mid-life crisis trying to break free in this Woody Allenesque family comedy. Somewhat uneven but enjoyable.

Slow paced "passage of time" human drama showing the decline & loneliness that result from old age. If you stay the course, the story and its characters will thoroughly engage. A touching, affecting film that scales the heights of poetry.

2.6 -- FATHERS FOOTSTEPS, Marco Carmel
Parisien take on "Lies my Father Told Me." Well acted but music score lacked presence.

2.7 -- SUMMER HOURS, Olivier Assayas
Human drama about family ties and legacy. Three adult siblings must deal with the death of their mother & the division of her valuable assets. Fine performances not enough to overcome the gaping holes in final edit.

2.5 -- CASH, Eric Besnard
Complex action comedy involving a sting operation, not unlike "Oceans 11," and multiple back stabbings/betrayals, as in "Ronin." Complexity & multitude of characters made this hard to follow, but in the end what mattered was that I enjoyed watching.

3.0 -- LORNA'S SILENCE, Jean-Pierre & Luc Dardenne
Social drama exposing the vulnerabilty of immigrants & the traps they can fall into while pursuing their dreams in their new land. Excellent performances, sometimes brilliant script.

2.5 -- THE PROTOCOL, Thomas Vincent
Father leading a simple life gets caught up in a web of conspiracy with the pharmaceutical industry following the death of his son. Strong beginning gets muddled up in confusing detail.

2.5 -- TRUE ENOUGH, Sam Karmann
Typical French farce about unhappy couples, their affairs & entanglements. Sympathetic jazz score helps this snappy, ironic comedy stay afloat.

Post WWII drama dealing with the silence of holocaust survivors & its effects on their children & grand children. A well crafted, riveting film.

2.5 -- CYCLES, Cyril Gelblat
Social drama of an aging woman, losing her memory, who lives in the past. Though substantive and delightful, it's not as engaging as "Away from Her" & "Who are You."

2.6 -- CROSSFIRE, Claude-Michel Rome
Modern western set in small town near Marseille. An entertaining and enjoyable action-detective thriller about a tough, stoical cop sent to a soon-to-be decommissioned police station. Unlike most films in the genre which are all too predictable, this offers several layers of meaning.

3.0 -- THE VANISHING POINT, Laurent de Bartillat
An elegant and aesthetically memorable film centering on a young art history student convinced that the works of 18th century painter Jean-Antoine Watteau conceal never revealed secrets. More intellectual than "Da Vinci Code." Stellar performances. Intrigue augmented by score.

2.8 -- WINTER STORIES, Francois Bouvier
An exuberant crowd of over 400 pre-adolescent 10-12-yr. olds attended this rare screening of a little known gem of Quebec cinema. Relesed in 1999 & set in a small Quebec town in the winter of 1966-67, the film recounts the rite of passage of a 12-year old boy from childhood to adolescence. A bitter-sweet comedy.

3.3 -- SURVIVING WITH WOLVES, Vera Belmont
A biopic of Misha Defonsca, who as an 8-yr. old during WW2 traversed 3,000 km from Begium to Ukraine, thru Germany & Poland in search of her parents. Haunting harp led score, beautiful cinematography; rapport between the girl & the wolf pack she encounters during her odyssey contribute to the fairy tale aspect of this a tale of epic proportions.

2.5 -- DISTANT TREMORS, Manuel Poutte
Set & shot in Senegal. Young man yearning to immigrate to Europe leads an expedition deep into the heart of ancient tribal lands to collect a rare Fetish statue in exchange for a visa. Personalities weren't particularly engaging.

1.8 -- A POLICE ROMANCE, Stephanie Duvivier
Unfocused police drama involving a newly assigned trainee in a tough neighbourhood in Paris where a major drug operation is taking place. Sexual tensions arise between him & the lieutenent. Despite credible performances, novice director's efforts were undone by meandering script and questionable editing.

2.9 -- TWO LADIES, Philippe Faucon
Warm, compassionate & convincing social drama about 2 elderly strong-willed women (one Jewish, the other Muslim) developing an unlikely friendship. Fine performances by non-professional actors make the strong case that an open mind can triumph over prejudice.

2.7 -- CORTEX, Nicolas Bookhrief
A dark & seductive thriller about a retired cop with the beginnings of Alzheimers, who is sent to a secluded residence. All too frequent deaths lead him to begin an investigation. Imbued with humour & suspense. Good performances from both the leads & supporting roles. Conclusion a little unclear.

2.5 -- LET IT RAIN, Agnes Jaoui
Thoroughly amusing family comedy involving a feminist & newly engaged politician returning to family cottage in the south of France to help her sister put her late mother's affairs in order. Meanwhile she agrees to have a documentary film made of her. A comedy of "ironies" ensues.

2.8 -- FAMILY VALUES, Claus Drexel
Crime comedy involving an armed robbery at the local stadium during a big game. Storyline told from 3 perspectives: the mother, the father & the daughter. What originally was perceived as an ideal family descends into greed, lies & duplicity once the duffle containing the money is found. Shades of Claude Chabrol.

1.6 -- THE HOUSE, Manuel Poirier
Drama about a man who becomes intrigued with an old house being put for sale at auction; he becomes involved with one of the two sisters who grew up in the house. Shallow & aimless effort somewhat saved by haunting melodies of Lhasa de Sala & autumnal lighting & cinematography.

2.5 -- TONIGHT I'LL SLEEP AT YOURS, Olivier Baroux
Romantic comedy about a man who will go to absurd lengths to avoid commitment towards his girlfriend. Slapstick sequences remind one of romantic comedies of the 30s, 40s & 50s.

3.1 -- VERSAILLES, Pierre Schoeller
A heart warming tale of a homeless mother of a 5-year old boy who leaves him with a vagabond who lives in a hut near a famous castle. The two develop a special bond. This film bares tragic witness to those who find themselves outside mainstream society.

3.2 -- THE MAIDEN AND THE WOLVES, Gilles Legrand
Set in the Alps at the end of WW1 about a young, beautiful & strong willed woman determined to become the first female veternarian. Sweeping lush score; majestic scenery & georgeously filmed animal sequences. An adventure for the whole family.

1.7 -- THE FEELINGS FACTORY, Jean-Marc Moutout
An attractive & successful notary seaching for true love. It begins as a comedy, morphs into drama which then tries to become a thriller. In the end meaningless.

2.6 -- THE GIRL FROM MONACO, Anne Fontaine
Delightful comedy about 3 wildly divergent characters coming together with explosive consequences. A brilliant, successful lawyer, his athletic, loyal & "keep it simple" body guard find their worlds turned upside down when a sexy, bubbly & "to the point" weather girl enters their lives. Beautifully shot in Monaco. A risky change of tone 3/4s into the film is well executed. Certain sequences could have been left out & others fleshed out.

Ratings for 2007 Cinemania Festival Ratings.








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