Movies – LOVE THEM!!!
French Movies – not so much….
Now, I'm not basing this opinion on films like Amelie or The Diving Bell and the Butterfly which are both very good movies…it's all the other ones made by varying french filmmakers that I just don't get. How can two countries seperated by a vast body of water have such entirely different methods of story telling. How can ones countries films be SO GOOD and another so horribly UN-UNDERSTANDABLE (had to make up a word to describe my dislike of french cinema).
Movies and french should be like the joining of chocolate and peanut butter – the two together is heavenly yet, to me this combination is like, well, like oil and water…hmm, something worse than that. Oh, like eating cold cuts and drinking orange juice. You'd think they'd be good together and yet, its absolutely awful.
Ok, maybe I'm being a bit dramatic but here is a list of the last couple of films I've viewed: Secret Things; Priceless; 400 Blows; He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not; Jules and Jim; Le Weekend and A Man and a Woman; Paris, Je T'aime; (amongst others). I've seen present day films with Audrey Tatou in it (apparently she's the present day french Audrey Hepburn) and I've seen films from the 60's and 70's when the Nouvelle Vague movement was happening because like I said earlier – I love movies.
Some of the flicks on my list were mildly entertaining, some of them were laugh out loud hysterical due to the story lines. Apparently, in old french films you couldn't just tell a story of boy meets girl or good person over comes bad person – there must be symbolism of some sort; a crow flying in and out of a scene; death lurking in a corner; a red ballon flapping throughout the movie. I mean – for the love of gummy bears – I just want a well crafted story with some great actors to tell me a story that will help pass the day away, as well as, help me take command of the language. While some of the newer, younger movies still do that whole 'being deep' thing, many of them are just so contrite. Like Priceless for example, where pretty girl (Audrey Tatou) likes rich men to spoil her. She gets tired of her old, old rich guy and thinks she struck gold with a new young rich guy but (and here's the twist) he's actually a bellhop and poor. Aww… I stopped the movie twenty minutes in seeing as I've already seen J.Lo in that movie (and didn't like it then either).
Now I know perhaps this idea makes me out to be a spoiled American. Here we have our huge studios throwing millions of dollars on the moving picture where we hide symbolism and wise lessons, as not to scare the majority of the viewers from not seeing the movie (well, not scaring the few people that would even get it) but the few movies that do incorporate it into the story line still manage to have a vastly more entertaining movie (and, lets be honest a smaller viewership because of it – ah, the independent film). Or perhaps its needing to be of a mindset. A mindset I can develop once living, breathing, speaking all things french.
I guess I've got to watch more movies before I pass complete judgement. I've got I've Loved You So Long; Grand Ecole and Water Lilies in my queue now….keeping my fingers crossed. Though I'm really hoping that, when living there, the french have something akin to Netflix (where I can get all the american flicks I'd like) or heaven help me.