What to see in theaters.
MYSTERY IN VENICE ★★★☆☆
By Kenneth Branagh
Kenneth Branagh and his guests have a lot of fun in the new Poirot murder party. The theme of the evening: giallo.
Who would have bet that Kenneth Branagh would have reinvented himself as a filmmaker thanks to a franchise? The Hercule Poirot films based on Agatha Chrtistie. After The crime of the Orient Express too programmatic, Branagh had succeeded in making Death on the Nile a joyful one murder party and Poirot a true tragic figure in a conclusion of darkness and surprising emotion. Mystery in Venice begins there, in 1947. Poirot, traumatized by the war, retires to Venice, where a friend, author of best-selling detective stories, will draw him out of his refuge by asking him to attend a spiritualism session in a dilapidated palazzo on Halloween night. Behind closed doors, stars, drama. We know the song, and we follow it with pleasure. But Mystery in Venice thus looks more like a tribute to horror cinema than to Poirot seventies with Peter Ustinov. He explores the traumas of his characters, stuck in the walls of their nightmares. Which makes it the best of the three films, by far.
Read the full review
PREMIERE LIKED A LOT
THE BIG CART ★★★★☆
By Philippe Garrel
With this Large Cart, Philippe Garrel, chose to tell the daily life of a troupe of puppeteers to evoke in almost the first person, his gesture as an artist. Formidable mise en abyss of the act of creation fully unveiled and revealed. Esther, Lena and Louis Garrel – daughters and son of the filmmaker – are standing here behind the father’s small theater (played by Aurélien Recoing). Everything here is artisanal, home-made, perpetuating a centuries-old tradition. Young children make up an enthusiastic audience, until one day, everything stops in the middle of the performance. The father is dying behind the scenes, the game must end and, with it, the magic of the show. The question then arises for the siblings of the pursuit of the “profession”, each seeing it – or not – as a possible emancipation. “ I realize that representing one’s family is a pleasure usually reserved for painters. », writes Garrel in his note of intent. Filmmaker, puppeteer, painter, deep down it’s the same thing with him: the round of feelings draws a poetry of existence specific to its author. Garrel’s romanticism is a river that traces its route between the banks of reality and dreams. Supreme art of living.
FIRST TO LIKE
THE SOLUTIONS BOOK ★★★☆☆
By Michel Gondry
Michel Gondry had not made films for eight years. He returns with a film which examines his own creative process through his alter ego, Marc (Pierre Niney), a whimsical director who has taken refuge in the Cévennes. Having left with his latest film still unfinished, Marc walled himself up in his aunt’s house, accompanied by his editor and two assistants. The self-portrait of a bipolar person immersed in the chaos of his incessant ideas, but treated in a hilarious way. Gondry does not spare himself as a capricious kid, incapable of confronting the real world. In this succession of ups and downs, Pierre Niney holds the note superbly. But the film collapses somewhat halfway through, when Gondry begins to justify all of Marc’s mistakes with his genius. It takes an ego like that to write something like that, but let’s admit that this praise of improvisation and tinkering is absolutely unstoppable.
Read the full review
LAST SUMMER ★★★☆☆
By Catherine Breillat
It has been ten years since, due to health concerns, Catherine Breillat had to stay away from film sets. But even though time has passed, she holds fast to the course of her cinema which never smoothes the corners, shakes things up, creates unease. Last summer is the story of a forbidden love, that of a forty-year-old lawyer with her 17-year-old stepson. Breillat films the bodies intertwining, the skin blushing with incredible intensity. She offers one of the most disturbing and Machiavellian portraits of women that we have seen in a long time. The filmmaker ventures into a taboo subject without seeking to apologize for it or to balance points of view. It bristles, it disappoints, it creates permanent discomfort and is not necessarily pleasant to live with. But it also impresses, like the masterful interpretations of Léa Drucker and beginner Samuel Kircher. A winning return.
Read the full review
THE SECRETS OF THE PRINCESS OF CADIGNAN ★★★☆☆
By Arielle Dombasle
Who other than Arielle Dombasle could have directed an adaptation of Balzac in which Arielle Dombasle questions feminism and the passing of time, between two opera arias? Arielle Dombasle of course, who aims with this new costume film to revisit 19th century France, in a style never seen elsewhere. By playing the sulphurous and seductive Princess of Cadignan, she has fun in the limbo of literature and meets Balzac in person, Rastignac, Daniel d’Arthez… There is sincerity in the reflections raised by this egotrip walking (by comparing his chest to others in particular!), but not enough to make us forget some technical blunders, undoubtedly the fault of an insufficient budget for such a historical reconstruction.
THE HIJA OF TODAS LAS RABIAS ★★★☆☆
By Laura Baumeister de Montis
A rarity. A first feature film, from Nicaragua, a country which has very little – if ever – the honors of the big screen. Laura Baumeister tells the story of the close relationship between a mother and her young daughter, living on the edge of a public dump and trying to make a living selling puppies. And as is often the case when we find ourselves on the edge of the abyss, a grain of sand is enough to derail everything. In this case, an incident which prevents the planned delivery and forces this mother to separate from her child, entrusted to the owners of a local recycling factory to work on waste processing and which will have only one goal: find this mother without knowing if she is still alive. From this heartbreaking starting point, Laura Baumeister never resorts to tearful blackmail. Any more than his film can only be experienced and seen as a cash register of the misery at work in this corner of the world. Thanks to the beauty of its images which contrast with the harshness of the subject. Thanks to his ease in evolving in this register of poetic or even magical realism which recalls Beasts of the Wild South. All magnified by the superb soundtrack by Para One, Céline Sciamma’s usual accomplice.
WOLF ARE YOU THERE ★★★☆☆
By Clara Bouffartigue
There are children and parents together, children among themselves, parents with the psychologist, mothers with fathers. Everyone comes and goes in the Claude Bernard medical-psychological-pedagogical center in Paris, which welcomes young children and teenagers in distress. They try collective or individual therapy, a drawing, a discussion. Seek repair. Director Clara Bouffartigue films the incommunicability of a family, the distress of a couple, the tears of a little girl. It’s rich (although a little too much), rare and overwhelming.
COLARGOL, THE BEAR THAT SINGS ★★★☆☆
By Albert Barillé, Victor Glattauer, Olga Pouchine and Jean-Jacques Thebault
The singing bear is making his comeback after fifty years of silence. In 1974, the series Colargol broadcast on the second ORTF channel ended and left the little animal dreaming in a corner. In 2023, the restored version brings the first three episodes out of the closet, and offers the program bright colors and an air of modernity, without erasing the years that have wrinkled it. A mix of stop motion and cartoon, this revival of Colargol – with a heady musical theme – remains a charming experience, although frustrating since it is unfinished (the series is made up of 53 episodes). A delicious nostalgic dive for those who were familiar with the bear and his bird friends and a way to briefly get to know his world for others.
Find these films near you thanks to Première Go
FIRST TO MODERATELY LIKED
A SERIOUS JOB ★★☆☆☆
By Thomas Lilti
After addressing the issue of health from different angles, Thomas Lilti looks at education. And the method and ambition remain the same: to tell the reality of an institution through human portraits, in a tone that is both documented and light, political and feel-good. Vincent Lacoste plays Benjamin, a beginner maths teacher who arrives at an “ordinary” college in the Paris suburbs and will discover the problems and joys of the job… Mixing impressionistic notations on the difficulties of teachers and snippets of their private lives, the film is looks almost like the condensed first season of a TV series, with its story based on the school year and its well-depicted, immediately endearing characters… Square, very effective, A serious job mixes lightness and gravity in a very programmatic way. The copy is so clean and predictable that it ends up feeling superficial.
Read the full review
THE OCEAN SEEN FROM THE HEART ★★☆☆☆
By Iolande Cadrin-Rossignol and Marie-Dominique Michaud
Documentaries celebrating nature and warning about ecological peril follow one another on the big screen and basically all look the same, more concerned with the messages to be delivered than with the search for cinematic formatting. This exploration of marine biodiversity (with splendid images) follows the same logic but at least escapes the usual soothing and falsely poetic-educational voice-overs. Thanks to speakers – Hubert Reeves in the lead – who are as relevant as they are fascinating.
High schoolby Frederick Wiseman
The Nun IIby Michael Chaves
Crazy Loveby Jacques Rivette
Hester streetby Joan Micklin Silver