Say cheese, say French Film Festival, see Audrey, Juliette and Marion

The media launch of the 2017 Alliance Française French Film Festival took place in Sydney during the week, and I was eager to attend, spurred on by the thought that there might be some free food and wine to go with it. Journalists are easily persuaded.

img_0735And my instincts were right. Look what I found.

That’s a plate of cheese (fromage in French).

Or it was. In my hands it soon became a plate of discarded toothpicks, albeit fancy toothpicks with the French flag draped on them. And very tasty cheese it was too.

I even kept some of the toothpicks as souvenirs. Journalists are shameless scroungers!

The French Film Festival is Australia’s largest foreign language film festival, attracting some 160,000 patrons. This year, the 28th year in its history,  the festival will be screening in:

  • Sydney (March 7-30)
  • Melbourne (March 8-30)
  • Canberra (March 9-April 4)
  • Perth (March 15-April 50
  • Brisbane (March 16-April 9)
  • Adelaide (March 30-April 23)
  • Hobart (March 30-April 8)
  • Parramatta (April 6-9)
  • Casula (April 8-9)

Here is the official festival trailer, plus trailers of some films that will be featured. Looks good!

Here’s one for those who like snorkelling, scuba diving and Audrey Tautou.

Here’s one for those who like period dramas, loopy families and Juliette Binoche.

Here’s one for those who like Mr Wrongs, Mr Rights and Marion Cottilard.

Another award for Elle at the Goyas; The Distinguished Citizen is distinguished

The French rape-revenge film Elle, for which Isabelle Huppert won a Golden Globe and is in the running for the best actress Oscar, picked up Spain’s Goya Award for Best European Film, beating films from the UK and the Hungarian film Son of Saul, which won the Oscar for Best Foreign Film last year. Despite Huppert’s performance, Elle did not make the Oscar nominations for Best Foreign film this year.

Having been to South America recently, I was curious to see which film would win the Goya for Best Spanish Language Foreign Film – the four films in contention were from Argentina, Colombia, Mexico and Venezuela.

The winner was El Ciudadano Ilustre (The Distinguished Citizen), a comedy from Argentina.

One to look out for should it ever come your way.

The Venezuelan film, Desde Allá (From Afar) was a strong contender, having won the Golden Lion at the 2015 Venice Film Festival. Its topic is confronting.

 

Patience is a virtue at the Goya Awards

A quick follow-up on the previous post. The winning film at the Goya Awards was … da-da-da-da (drumroll) Tarde Para La Ira (The Fury of a Patient Man).

Variety magazine has a good summary of the Spanish film industry awards here.

 

Monstrous acts dominate top films in Spain’s Goya Awards

The Spanish film industry will be in the spotlight this weekend, when the winners of the 31st Goya Awards will be announced. The ceremony takes place in Madrid on Saturday.

Oddly, the film that garnered the most nominations – 12 of them – A Monster Calls, is not in Spanish, but in English and is based upon the book of the same name by Patrick Ness. However, the director J.A. Bayona, and much of the production team were Spanish, and it is a great credit to the Spanish film industry.

I have seen the film and was enthralled by it. It may look like a typical and possibly silly part-animated children’s movie, along the lines of ‘boy befriends an E.T. or a Lochness Monster’ or in this case a scary tree, but don’t be fooled. Emotionally there is a lot going on here that adults of all generations can relate to.

It is one of the five contenders in the Best Film category. The others are:

Julieta, directed by Pedro Almodóvar. 

(Like A Monster Calls, there is a lot of family anguish and soul-searching going on here. I have seen it but despite it getting rave reviews, it left me somewhat cold and unconvinced. For me A Monster Calls was way more satisfying.)

Que Dios Nos Perdone (May God Save Us), directed by Rodrigo Sorogoyen.

(Here two troubled police officers are hunting down a serial killer in Madrid in 2011, just as the Pope is paying a visit. )

El Hombre de Las Mil Caras (Smoke and Mirrors), directed by Alberto Rodríguez.

(This is a political thriller involving a corruption scandal and a Spanish secret service agent who fakes his own death. I could not find a trailer with English subtitles. While the film has been called Smoke and Mirrors in English, a literal translation would be The Man With A Thousand Faces).

Tarde Para La Ira (The Fury of a Patient Man), directed by  Raúl Arévalo.

(This is tale of revenge, full of suspense, with a lot of twists and turns. The Spanish title would be literally translated as Late For Anger. If you are going to see it, try not to read reviews and some reveal too much of the plot)

 

All up, it is not a particularly cheerful bunch of films, is it? The last three in particular are full of macho men behaving badly.

Alexandra Stan wants you to listen, Indila wants you to wait a bit more

Recently I heard a song that’s a mix of French and English by Romanian singer Alexandra Stan. It reminded me in parts of one of the most popular French singers of late, Indila, so I thought it worth sharing. It’s called Écoute, which means “listen”.

In truth there is not much French in the song, but hey, we have to be grateful for what we get, which in this case is the chorus.

Écoute, écoute, écoute-moi
Et suis la route après ma voie
Tu sais bien que je suis là pour toi
Écoute, écoute, écoute-moi

Alexandra is best known for her hit Mr Saxobeat, which was massive – and I mean MASSIVE – in some parts of the world in 2011. For me it was one of those songs that can irritate and yet prove infectious (like Macarena, for example)

In the meantime I (and I am sure many other fans) are waiting for something new from Indila – it’s been three years since her remarkable debut album Mini World and singles such as S.O.S and Dernière Danse made their mark. Still, she has been promising on her Twitter account for a while now that her second album is due out soon. Just to refresh your memories of her, here is one of the other singles from that album.

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French chansons from the fairer sex

Tic-tac, here comes the year of the Rooster

roosterJanuary 2017 has almost gone. The Chinese new year is about to dawn on us. How time flies! What do you plan to achieve in 2017 or in the Year of the Rooster? You’d better hurry, because the clocks are ticking. According to reputable dictionaries (that is, the ones I probably paid way too much money for), in French and Romanian they go tic-tac; in Italian it’s tic tac without a hyphen; in Portuguese tique-taque; in Spanish tictac.

What we need now is a tic-tac song to gee us up. Oh look, here’s one! Even better, the video features waves gently lapping the shore – a symbol of constant, regular motion – and there are nice melodies floating around in it. It’s by Vescan and Mahia Beldo (although only the former appears in the video) and the song has made the Romanian top 10.

What’s it all about? Basically, he is missing the passing of dulce copilărie, or sweet childhood. You can find a rather awkward translation of the lyrics into English here (plus translations into German, Russian and Spanish).

HOW TO SAY ‘TIME FLIES’ IN THE FIVE ROMANCE LANGUAGES

  • French: le temps passe vite
  • Italian: il tempo vola
  • Portuguese: o tempo voa
  • Romanian: timpul zboara
  • Spanish: el tiempo vuela or el tiempo corre (runs)

Although I am not fond of rapping, I do like a lot of the music that Vescan has been involved in – he usually teams up with good singers (an example is Poza de album with Mellina, featured on this post here). In Tic-tac I am impressed with Mahia’s vocals. Here the two perform together live on radio.

How would you like to have Vescan as your language teacher? I think he would be entertaining. No chance of falling asleep in one of his classes!

roosterA happy Year of the Rooster to you

For some amusement, if these things appeals to you, you can find your Chinese new year horoscopes here, but you have to know what animal you are. Find out here.

I’m a rat!

 

 

Do you wish you could turn back timpul?

time-clocks

Image from Pixabay.

How is time treating you? How are your relationships faring five, 10, 15 years down the track? Here’s a song about exactly that, entitled Timpul (time) by Romanian singer Feli, whose full name is Felicia Donose.

Feli was a semifinalist in The Voice Romania contest in 2012 and since then she has released a number of singles either as a solo artist or in collaboration with top Romanian singers. But this one is her best yet and has broken into the Romanian Top 20.

So, what it’s all about? It is too difficult and time-consuming to place the Romanian lyrics and the English ones side by side in this space, but luckily the Lyric Translate website specialises in that sort of thing. Click here for the English translation (there are also Russian and Spanish ones).

Below are the first verse, chorus, and second verse, and finally a live clip of the song.

Versuri:
Îmi spuneai că se poate,
Că pot să scap de trecut,
Doar să-mi dau voie
Să iubesc, să iubesc, dar eu nu am vrut.
Plin de iubire şi răbdare,
Eu te vedeam un prefăcut,
Mă luai în braţe şi-mi spuneai cum nu spuneai oricui
„Lasă iubirea să te-mbrace, dă-i timp timpului”

Refren:
Spune-mi, spune-mi ce e de făcut,
Că vreau să fie ca la început,
Dar tu nu mai vrei, tu nu mai,
M-ai uitat, deşi n-ai vrut
Spune-mi, spune-mi ce e de făcut,
Că vreau să fie ca la început,
Dar tu nu mai vrei, tu nu mai,
Tu nu mai vrei tot ce am avut

Versuri:
Câte îmi arată viaţa,
Câte semne să mă prind,
Cum înclină balanţa
Spre instinct, să-l ascult şi să nu mă mint.
Câte amintiri frumoase,
Ce din când în când m-ating,
Tu mi-ai transformat în vară ficare anotimp…

More sultry songs from Coeur de Pirate

pirateHello, me hearties, it’s time we caught up with Coeur de Pirate. So read on otherwise you will have to walk the plank!

Coeur de Pirate (“Heart of a Pirate”) is the nom de plume of French-Canadian singer Béatrice Martin, who has had album and single chart success in Europe as well as Canada. The last time she featured her was in mid-2014 in the post The sultry songs of Coeur de Pirate. Those songs are well worth revisiting.

Since then, in late August 2015, she has released another album, Roses, which went to number two on the Canadian charts, and made the top 10 in both France and Belgium and the top 20 in Switzerland. This time, though, more than half the tracks are in English. Here are some songs from Roses, and you can get translations of her lyrics into various languages from this page on the Lyrics Translate website.

The first single from the album was Oublie Moi, (“Forget me“). It’s jaunty.

Coeur de Pirate did an English version of the song, using the title Carry On.

A good review of the album and interview with Coeur de Pirate discussing the inspiration behind it can be found here.

I really like Crier tout bas, which was the third single from the album. The title’s meaning is contradictory (in the same way that “more haste, less speed” would appear to be) – Crier tout bas means shout in a very low voice, or scream softly. The French lyrics are at bottom.

Crier tout bas

Je t’ai vu tracer le long du paysage
Une ligne des aimés qui détruisent ton langage
Et quand tu chantais plus fort dans ton silence
Je voyais les larmes couler toujours à contresens

Mais quand les saisons attendront ton retour
Ce sera le vent qui portera secours

Et si la terre est sombre, et si la pluie te noie
Raconte-moi qu’on puisse trembler ensemble
Et si le jour ne vient pas dans la nuit des perdus
Raconte-moi qu’on puisse crier tout bas

J’ai voulu calmer ton souffle qui s’étouffait
Des courses vers le vide, ton rire qui soupirait
Si tu mets le cap vers des eaux restant troubles
Je serai le phare qui te guidera toujours

Mais quand les saisons attendront ton retour
Ce sera le vent qui portera secours

Et si la terre est sombre, et si la pluie te noie
Raconte-moi qu’on puisse trembler ensemble
Et si le jour ne vient pas dans la nuit des perdus
Raconte-moi qu’on puisse crier tout bas

Je t’ai vu tracer le long du paysage
Une ligne des aimés qui détruisent ton langage
Et quand tu chantais plus fort dans ton silence
Je voyais les larmes couler toujours à contresens

Et si la terre est sombre, et si la pluie te noie
Raconte-moi qu’on puisse trembler ensemble
Et si le jour ne vient pas dans la nuit des perdus
Raconte-moi qu’on puisse crier tout bas

 

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The foreigners at the BAFTAs

After the recent excitement of the Golden Globes, attention turned today to the BAFTA nominations. The British Academy of Film And Television Arts released its list of 2017 award nominees and, as expected the Hollywood musical La La Land dominated, scoring 11 nominations.

The foreign language film contenders did not include the Golden Globe-winning French film Elle, because it has not yet opened in England, so it will probably be a contender in the 2018 BAFTAs.

But there were French connections. One of the nominees was Dheepan, which looks at the lives of Tamils fleeing Sri Lanka to settle in France. Cheerful stuff!

Spanish is another Romance language that gets a role at the BAFTAs, in the form of Pedro Almodóvar’s Julieta.

I am a great fan of Pedro Almodóvar and will always go to see his films at the cinema, but I must confess  Julieta left me a little cold. That said, I have friends who have raved about it.

Turkish-born French director  Deniz Gamze Ergüven’s Mustang (in Turkish), which was an Oscar contender last year and also won four César awards in 2016, is also a BAFTA contender, as is the 2016 best foreign film Oscar winner Son of Saul (in Hungarian). Completing the list is the German comedy Toni Erdmann, which I will talk about in a later post.

The BAFTA awards will take place in London on February 12.

French triumph at Golden Globes

As well as La La Land (which is an excellent film in many ways), the Golden Globes were a notable success for the French film industry. Isabelle Huppert beat the other (English-speaking) nominees to win the award for best actress in a drama for her role in Elle, which was lauded as best foreign film.

Elle was released in Australia in late October, but it is still showing on some screens in Sydney at least, and no doubt it get more screenings in various parts of the world as a result of its success today. It’s a gritty nail-biter of a movie.

Her win was a surprise, and her heart was pumping as much at the Globes awards ceremony as it might have been when she was first confronted by her attacker in Elle.

Another French film, Divines, was among the five nominations for best foreign film, but it focuses on the dubious deeds of a much younger generation.

For those interested in Romance languages, a Spanish film Neruda, was also nominated, as were films from Iran and Germany. Having recently been in Chile, and being a big fan of Gael García Bernal, I am looking forward to seeing Nerudawhich will get a commercial screening in Australia later this year.

Finally, it wasn’t nominated for a Golden Globe, but if you get the chance to see the French film Rosalie Blum (which opened in Australia on Boxing Day) I do recommend it. It’s got everything I love about the French film industry – it turns real people leading ordinary human lives into the extraordinary, with great wit and warmth, sadness and poignancy.