Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Les Jolies Choses (Pretty Things)

This 2001 first feature film by Gilles Paquet-Brenner looks quite different to regular French cinema and perhaps more similar to American films, as looks and feels most of the time like a trashy music video mixed with a melodramatic drama that well, if it wasn’t for the main actress I really wonder if he could have pulled off as he did. Then the casting was excellent especially Marion Cotillard that totally saves the movie.

As strange as it sounds there are three singers in this movie, Patrick Bruel, Stomy Bugsy and Ophélie Winter and none of them sings in the movie; the only one that sings is none other than Marion Cotillard and according to what I read, the last scene with her singing the title song was filmed during a Patrick Bruel real concert and well, she sounds okay but I felt that her moves on stage were not natural.

Anyway is a strange movie based on a story by Virginie Despentes, that some of us know her better as the director of that strange movie Baise-moi, and her story is a good drama about two twin sisters that hate/love each other and have totally opposite personalities. Lucie is outgoing and Marie is serious and tough. Lucie wants to sing but her voice is not good, so on Lucie’s first concert, Marie that has a good voice takes her place. When Marie comes back to the apartment discovers that Lucie committed suicide and decides to take Lucie’s life as hers. She never expected to find all that she finds about her twin sister life when she impersonates her. This is a story of siblings’ rivalry and a descent into a dark life of sex, drugs and rock and roll.

Almost since the beginning my eyes were glued to the screen and I was totally mesmerized watching the amazing performance by Marion Cotillard in her double role as Lucie and Marie. What can be better than two Marions in the screen? Nothing much, but her singing is quite interesting and her voice seems to be quite good. I feel that she totally steals the movie, so it is not a surprise that she got a nomination for Most Promising Actress at the 2002 César Awards.

I liked the movie basically because Marion Cotillard mesmerizing performance and well there are some short scenes that are lesbian interest, but are not the main story and belong to Lucie’s past. Still, if you want to see a very beautiful Marion, then perhaps some that read this blog should give it a try.

Not for all audiences, less for those that like French cinema, this is like an independent American movie with fast pace, some hand held camera takes, cartoons, and lots of words. So, perhaps those that enjoy American independent cinema could like it and obviously those that want to see what Marion Cotillard did before La Môme have to see this movie with her outstanding performance.

Enjoy!!! (for Marion Cotillard performance)

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