Art/Film/Style – putting your best foot forward

JULIE AND THE SHOE FACTORY (SUR QUEL PIED DANSER)julie2

Another French Film and a partial musical at that, which is very unFrench.

From “New Voices/New Visions” category at PSIFF

But I think there’s no need to explain the only main reason why I chose this film.  It takes place in a luxury shoe factory!  I mean if I were to work in a factory…..It’s fun and it’s whimsical but La La Land it is not.

It centers on Julie (played by Pauline Etienne “The Tokyo Fiancée”), a young woman who is trying hard to make ends meet and ends up taking a trial position in an upscale shoe factory where she works packaging up shoes in the shipping department.  After a short period of time it appears the business will be either substantially downsized, sold or moved offshore for cheaper costs.  Julie’s co-workers will stop at nothing to keep their positions.

Julie joins in a song and dance number with the group of female co-workers responsible for making the shoes in a protest to the proposed change.   They end up raiding the shoe archives to discover a well-designed retro model in RED which they decide to revive to save the renowned brand and keep it from going to China. In doing so they stir up intrigue and interest.

Ahhh, you’ve got to love the French.  This is my third French film in a row and I think mostly I’m drawn to these films because one of my best friends growing up in Montreal was very French from France.  She was daring, beautiful, lots of fun and had an unbelievably bad temper if she didn’t get her way.  I can sympathize.

Some newer red shoes I happen to like
shoes1shoes2And if you go boating (or want to look like you go boating) these from Gucci are pretty nice.shoes3Vive la France!

Culture/Film: Julieta and Elle

We’re still pleasantly engrossed at the Vancouver International Film Festival and I can hardly keep up with the reviews.julieta3 Today I saw two films back to back and I’m a bit mentally worn out.  So much to discover and contemplate but I can tell you a little about the last two films with strong leading women.

I have a lot of appreciation for foreign films.  Many times they have a lot more depth than North American cinema.  I’m a big fan of Spanish director Pedro Almodóvar since having seen Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown1988. It was nominated for an Academy Award for best foreign language film.  And of course All About My Mother (which I loved even more) won an Academy Award for best foreign language film.  The list goes on.  So as soon as I heard that Julieta (the latest Almodóvar , sure to become another classic) was partaking at VIFF I had to schedule time to see it.

Told in flashback over 30 years of guilt and grief, this melodrama is based on three Alice Munro short storiesCritics are saying it is his best film in a decade.

What I love the most about any Almodóvar movie is the character study in itself – all about relationships, it never disappoints and you can guarantee the actors are the best of the best.

Emma Suárez is fabulous as Julieta.  A beautiful woman who is leaving Madrid to start a new life in Portugal.  But before she moves, and by chance, she bumps into a childhood friend of her estranged daughter Antía.  She decides to stay in Madrid and returns to the apartment block where she and her daughter once lived.  Then we’re transported back to the 80’s to find out the story about fate, love and separation.

I enjoyed the film very much but without giving too much away, I unfortunately didn’t completely understand the decision made by Antía (the daughter) and in my opinion it was a very undeserving situation.

Moving on…

elle2

Elle, on the other hand was pretty disturbing in a sick and twisted confrontational sense.  I would classify it as a mystery/thriller with a wink and a twist.

I chose it because it’s a French film which stars Isabelle Huppert and is directed by Dutch filmmaker (and former Hollywood bad boy) Paul Verhoeven (Basic Instinct, Starship Troopers).

I liked the strong, seductive unemotional character of business woman (a CEO of a video game company) Michelle (Isabelle Huppert) with her dry sense of humour.  She is superb in the role.  I was disturbed and intrigued. This movie will most definitely spark a debate.

Julieta Trailer:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YH5_4osOZK8

Elle Trailer:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OVBEV1w7too

There are four more days of filmgoing left. For more movie information please visit: https://www.viff.org