French (Les Bien-Aimez)
The best asset of this French romantic feature is its glorious cast, headed by the still-beautiful Catherine Deneuve and her real-life daughter Chiara Mastroianni (from the great Marcello).
The closing night selection of the 2011 Cannes Film Festival and a special gala presentation of the Toronto Film Festival, “Beloved” opens theatrically in New York on August 17, with a national roll-out to follow. It also will be available on Sundance Selects’ video-on-demand.
“Beloved,” the latest film from eccentric French writer-director Christophe Honoré (“My Mother, “Love Songs,” “Dans Paris”) was greeted with mixed critical response at Cannes, and likely will divide American reviewers.
This romantic musical drama spans over three decades, during which we follow the amorous adventures of two women, a mother and daughter, for a change.
Tale begins in the freewheeling Paris of the 1960s, with young Madeleine (the talented Ludivine Sagnier), who has gone from selling shoes to sleeping with men for money. When she falls for a handsome Czech doctor named Jaromil (Rasha Bukvic), they get married and move to Prague.
They bear a daughter, but Jaromil’s infidelities and politics (the arrival of Russian tanks in Prague) lead Madeleine back to France, though the love between them still prevails.
Cut to London 30 years later and to Madeleine’s daughter, Vera (Chiara Mastroianni). Vera has fallen in love with a musician (American actor Paul Schneider) who is incapable of devoting himself to her, while her former lover (Honoré regular Louis Garrel) still desires her.
Meanwhile in Paris, Madeleine (Catherine Deneuve, gorgeous at 69) has rekindled her love affair with Jaromil (Milos Forman, better known as director of “One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest” and “Amadeus”).
Honorés collaborator Alex Beaupain (“Love Songs”) composed the emotional, occasionally schmaltzy score for this exploration of love relationships as they play against shifting cultural and political conditions.
Brightly-colored sets, costumes, and musical numbers often serve as counterpoint to the narrative’s more serious and darker themes, though I found the picture shallow.
Self-indulgent, and with an excessive running time of two and a half hours, “”Beloved” is a minor work, ultimately more diverting than probing its subject and female characters, or truly engaging.
I am not a fan of Honore’s work, though I have to acknowledge his original vision and earnest (if not always successful) efforts to go against the grain of both dominant French and American cinemas.
Leave a Reply
- Hangover Part III
- Blood Ties
- Inside Llewyn Davis: Top Coens, Cannes Highlight
- Jimmy P. (Psychotherapy of Plains Indian)
- Fast & Furious 6: Thrilling Joyride
- Angelina Jolie Double Mastectomy–Talk of Cannes Film Fest
- Bling Ring, The
- Before Midnight: Hawke and Delpie at Mid-Age
- Stories We Tell
- Great Gatsby: Luhrmann’s Jazzy Spectacle
- Star Trek into Darkness: Solid Sequel