Sunday, March 25, 2007

L'entente cordiale

L'entente cordiale is your typical mismatched buddy action/comedy but with a Gallic twist. Christian Clavier plays François de La Conche, a disgraced diplomat with a nagging wife and father-in-law, who is charged with the recovery of a Russian nanotech weapon that makes soldiers immune to pain. Dispatched to London to purchase the weapon from the criminal that stole it, de La Conche is paired up with translator Jean-Pierre Moindrau (played by Daniel Auteuil in comic mode), who is more interested in hooking up with his Indian fiancee than in doing his job. Needless to say, the exchange goes completely awry and de La Conche and Moindrau are forced to go on the run, trying to stay free from the police long enough to decipher the Byzantine plot around them. The movie also features Jennifer Saunders as de La Conche's long, lost love, and John Cleese in a brief cameo as an upper-class banker.

While it was a bit novel to see a French version of the genre populated by such films as Lethal Weapon and Rush Hour, L'entente cordiale really doesn't bring anything new to the table. The movie was mildly entertaining with a few bright spots here and there, but not really enough to sustain the whole film. Saunders and Cleese are badly dubbed in scenes where their characters are supposed to be speaking French, and Saunders is wasted in her role, unable to get the chance to show off the comic flair she's known for in her TV work. Auteuil was animated enough as Moindrau, but I never quite got into Clavier as de La Conche. Half the time he's like the suave, sophisticated man of the world he's supposed to be, and the other half he's as hapless as Moindrau. A better movie in this genre with a French twist would be the French-Canadian film Bon Cop, Bad Cop.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Cinéfranco 2007

Starting this weekend is the 10th annual Cinéfranco film festival in Toronto. Cinéfranco showcases French language films from around the world, including France, Quebec, and this year, Lebanon and Morocco. All the films have been previously released, but have rarely been seen here. Everything is subtitled in English to make the festival accessible to non-French speakers.

I'm seeing 6 films this year, including:

L'Entente Cordiale (The Entente Cordial), starring Daniel Auteuil and Christian Clavier.

L'ivresse du pouvoir (Comedy of Power), starring Isabelle Huppert and directed by Claude Chabrol.

Le petit lieutenant (The Young Lieutenant), starring Nathalie Baye.

Angel-A, from director Luc Besson.

Fauteuils d'orchestre (Orchestra Seats).

The Passenger.

My experiences at the Toronto International Film Festival. Note this blog is not affiliated with the Toronto International Film Festival Group or the festival itself.
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