Both an ingeniously choreographed crime film and a moral drama influenced by Dostoyevsky’s
Crime and Punishment,
Pickpocket marks the apotheosis of Bresson's stripped-down style. There’s little or no psychological realism or conventional drama at work in Martin La Salle’s portrayal of a master thief who plies his trade at the Gare de Lyon and easily outwits the cops who seek to ensnare him. See it once to appreciate the spare elegance of the pickpocketing scenes, and then a second time to appreciate how subtly Bresson accomplishes the story of a man’s self-willed corruption, his liberation through imprisonment and his redemption through love, all in less than 80 minutes.*
posted by Trurl
on Jan 6, 2012 -
Reading Blaise Cendrars is like stepping into another universe. His fiction is unlike anything else I've ever read. His poetry influenced the mighty Guillaume Apollinaire and helped shape the face of modernism. But it is his mockery of biographical detail and the very notion of literature that fascinates me the most. If, like me, you're not a fan of autobiography, then Blaise Cendrars is the memoirist for you.
posted by Trurl
on Nov 30, 2011 -
Birdy Nam Nam is four f*cking guys
, named for a reference from the 1968 movie The Party
. They are a quartet of French turntablists, consisting of Crazy B
, DJ Pone
, DJ Need
, and Little Mike
. They've spun solo
at the 2002 DMC competitions
, where they took the team championship title. In 2005, they released an album made from turntable-manipulated samples
, but they weren't studio-only tracks. They were also performed live
, though some tracks featured additional live musicians
. A 2007 live album followed
, keeping the same over-all turntablism sound as their first album. Their second album
was largely produced by French produceder/DJ Yunksek
, and the sound changed accordingly
into an album of delightful French dance music
, but they kept (generally) to the turntables
to create their songs. The band has released their third album
, now working with Para One
, another French producer/DJ. Their sound has gone on a slightly new path
, with another bizzare music video
to accompany their sound. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief
on Sep 23, 2011 -
The French romantic thriller “Diva” dashes along with a pellmell gracefulness, and it doesn’t take long to see that the images and visual gags and homages all fit together and reverberate back and forth. It’s a glittering toy of a movie... This one is by a new director, Jean-Jacques Beineix... who understands the pleasures to be had from a picture that doesn’t take itself very seriously. Every shot seems designed to delight the audience.
- Pauline Kael, 1982 [more inside]
posted by Trurl
on Sep 16, 2011 -
After Kad & Olivier sign off and the Satisfaction production logo fades, viewing audiences are oftentimes treated to a cold open of an empty talk show set... one that quickly becomes the impromptu dance floor for a shameless Frenchman making an absolute giddy fool of himself while lip-syncing pop songs alongside a menagerie of... wait, *what*?!
That's right. The Late Late Show
's Craig Ferguson appears to have a not-so-secret French admirer
-- one who's not above ripping off both his opening titles and his signature dance sequences
(including the iconic animal puppets
by The Jackson 5, "Flashdance"
by Irene Cara, "On the Floor"
by Jennifer Lopez and Pitbull, "Waka Waka"
by Shakira, "Men in Black"
by Will Smith, "Let's All Chant"
by the Michael Zager Band, "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go"
by Wham!, "It's Raining Men"
by The Weather Girls, and "Vive Le Vent (Jingle Bells)"
by Tino Rossi.
Luckily, Ferguson's sense of showmanship is more prodigious than litigious
-- he responded to Arthur's "homáge
" by booking a pair of translatlantic crossover shows, with Arthur visiting LA that week and Ferguson flying out to Paris just last month. Video of both shows (plus lots more) inside! [more inside]
posted by Rhaomi
on Jul 11, 2011 -
Jacques Rivette, who emerged in the 1950s... as one of the primary filmmakers of the French New Wave, is the most underappreciated (and under-screened) of this legendary group. Rivette’s deliberately challenging, super-size films defy easy assimilation, and demand a level of attention unusual even to his compatriots’ works. In addition to being considered difficult, however, Rivette’s body of work is also, arguably, the richest of the New Wave era, possessing an intellectual inquiry and humanity unmatched in the French cinema of his time. [more inside]
posted by Joe Beese
on Jan 29, 2011 -
Unlike many cinematic exports, the Disney canon of films
distinguishes itself with an impressive dedication to dubbing
Through an in-house service called Disney Character Voices International
, not just dialogue but songs, too, are skillfully
re-recorded, echoing the voice acting, rhythm, and rhyme scheme of the original work to an uncanny degree
(while still leaving plenty of room for lyrical reinvention
The breadth of the effort is surprising, as well -- everything from Arabic
gets its own dub, and their latest project, The Princess and the Frog
, debuted in more than forty tongues
Luckily for polyglots everywhere, the exhaustiveness of Disney's translations is thoroughly documented online in multilanguage mixes
and one-line comparisons
, linguistic kaleidoscopes that cast new light on old standards. Highlights:
"One Jump Ahead," "Prince Ali,"
and "A Whole New World"
) - "Circle of Life," "Hakuna Matata,"
(The Lion King
) - "Under the Sea"
and "Poor Unfortunate Souls"
(The Little Mermaid
) - "Belle"
and "Be Our Guest"
(Beauty and the Beast
) - "Just Around the Riverbend"
) - "One Song"
) - "Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo"
) - Medley
) - "When She Loved Me"
(Toy Story 2
) - Intro
posted by Rhaomi
on Nov 12, 2010 -
version of "My Way"
("Comme d'Habitude", Frank Sinatra's version was a cover) was written by Claude Francois
, AKA "CloClo"
. Somewhere between a French Wayne Newton and Elvis, he died when he was taking a bath, saw a lightbulb had gone out, and tried to replace it while standing in water, completing the circuit. Some of his hit songs include: Belinda
Belles Belles Belles (cover of
"Girls Girls Girls")
, Si J'avais un
Marteau (if I had a Hammer)
Bonhomme (French country, cover of Johnny Cash's "Dirty Dan")
, Le Disco est Francais
His scantily clad female backup dancers, called the
"Claudettes" or Clodettes
, were the inspiration for the Solid Gold dancers and had
their own short-lived solo spinoff career where they tried to cash in on the
kung-fu + disco
posted by destro
on Aug 1, 2010 -
There is a before and an after André Markowicz. In the early 1990s the translator, born to a Russian mother and French father, began translating the complete works of Dostoyevsky for Babel / Actes Sud. By the time he finished the mammoth undertaking in 2002 he had proved something: what people had been reading by Dostoyevsky wasn’t Dostoyevsky
. - an interview with André Marcowicz
, writer and translator. [more inside]
posted by Monday, stony Monday
on Jun 28, 2010 -
From the French cooking show Des Kiwis et des Hommes
, a highly educational segment on how to prepare palourde royal
. Kinda sorta NSFW.
posted by Shepherd
on Jun 4, 2010 -
is nice little animated short about a man who comes into possession of an object which shines an new light on his reality. It's in French and there are no subtitles, but the dialogue is minimal and the story is easy to follow. [Via]
posted by homunculus
on Apr 11, 2010 -