Tuesday, November 3, 2009
I knew from the film synopsis that Eden is West was to have some comic overtones, but I still didn't expect to enjoy it, I figured with all that talk of critically-acclaimed director, the film would be so full of deep meaning and subtext that I'd be itching for it to be over. Not so, actually it's completely engaging, maybe not from the first scene, but as soon as Elias (Riccardo Scamarcio) washes up on the shores of a nudist resort, the film stays on a lively pace.
Elias is an immigrant who along with many other of his countrymen is trying to illegally come into a new country in search of work, a better life, a new life, adventure? We're never told his full motives, nor are we told his country of origin or where he lands, this vagueness is intentional.
Writer/Director, Costa-Gavras explained during the post screening Q&A that he wanted to highlight the globalization of immigration; not as a throng of misbegotten people causing a problem for government, instead an individual story with a lighter tone. To obtain this lighter tone, Gavras created a character that is part lucky buffoon, part boyish charm, part quick-thinking escape artist and ALL sexy! He also sets this character on a quest, creating a road movie.
Elias encounters all walks of life along this journey, some who treat him extremely well, some just the opposite. At times his treatment is based on the clothes he's found, stolen or been given, other times it's because he's in the right place at the right time allowing people to make assumptions in his favor.
The ending takes a strange, magical turn, not in keeping with the tone of the film; still I liked Eden is West enough that I want to check out two of his other films: Z which received five Oscar nominations, including best picture in 1969 and Missing, starring Sissy Spacek and Jack Lemmon, which won the Oscar for best adapted screenplay in 1982.
Next up for the French Film Series- La Cinematheque:
OSS 117: Lost in Rio (OSS 117: Rio ne répond plus)
(2009, France, 101 minutes, Director: Michel Hazanavicius)
Thursday, November 12, 2009
Prince Music Theater, 1412 Chestnut St. – 6:45 pm
In French with English Subtitles
Synopsis: The imagined love child of James Bond, Maxwell Smart and Austin Powers, Agent OSS 117 is the man who can save the world in this emensly popular and very funny spy spoof flick. Sent to Brazil to retrieve a microfilm containing the names of Frenchmen who assisted the Nazi regime, OSS 117 joins forces with sexy lieutenant Dolores to track down an underground group of escaped Nazis. Purchase Tickets in Advance or at the door.