Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Two Movies to Catch Tonight
at French Cinema Now

Today is your last opportunity to catch the San Francisco Film Society's 2011 edition of its annual survey of new French films, and I have two recommendations for your viewing consideration tonight.

The first is at 5 pm and it's the very entertaining, and rather too-brief at barely 80-minutes, "The Screen Illusion", directed by actor and budding director Mathieu Amalric. He has taken the 17th-century play "L'illusion comique" and the original text, and transposed it to the current day.

Set in the sumptuous Hotel du Louvre, with all of its old-world charm providing the backdrop, the basic narrative of a father trying to find his son with the help of an all-seeing magician unfolds.

Amalric indulges his actors with lots of tight close ups and not much editing when they speak, and given that the excellent performers are from the legendary Comedie Francaise and at the top of their game, the indulgences of the director are well-deserved.

The second film I recommend is the somber "Angele and Tony", written and helmed by a new female auteur Alix Delaporte, screening at 9 pm this evening. Set in a small fishing community, the story concerns Angele trying to rebuild her life after a prison sentence for a crime never clearly specified that led to the death of her husband.

She meets Tony through a personals ad, and at first they don't get long with each other, while his mother has no problem expressing her suspicions toward Angele about her past and what her motives may be for wanting a relationship with him. Through believable plot turns with her parole officer and desire to win custody of her young son, and Tony realizing he desires Angele, their once-hostile interactions slowing melt.

Delaporte delivers imperfect characters attempting to keep job security, a place to live and create happiness out of their tough situation, that kept me concerned with how Angele and Tony resolve their many problems. Delaporte is an auteur worth paying attention to and she's at work on her second feature, that I hope eventually screens here.

Both "The Screen Illusion" and "Angele and Tony" play this evening the New People Cinema located at 1746 Post Street, near Webster. Tickets are available for both movies. Click here for info on purchasing tickets in advance.

(Photo credits: San Francisco Film Society.)

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