8:00 PM, 26th June, 2010
The winner of seven Cesar Awards (the French equivalent of the Academy Awards) including Best Film and Best Actress, Séraphine is a definite must see!
Set in a small village not far from Paris in the early 1900s, Séraphine is the true story of Séraphine Louis (Moreau), a peasant woman who scrubs floors for a living. In her private moments we sense a yearning of the spirit, an unspoken, almost pagan passion for nature in all its manifestations.
At night, in a dark tiny room, Séraphine paints – and we come to realise that she paints because of a kind of a spiritual compulsion, as if she were a devout member of a religion with but a single worshiper. Art is not a choice or an option, but a brutal necessity. With little income, Séraphine steals blood from the butcher and collects from nature the colouring agents for her paintings.
When Wilhelm Uhde (Tukur), a German art critic living in Paris, happens to come across Séraphine’s art, he is immediately flabbergasted. What transpires is a fascinating and inevitably tricky relationship between obsessive people who are united only by their zeal for Séraphine’s art.
This is an incredible film exploring the genesis of art with a wonderful sensitivity and understanding. Yolande Moreau gives the performance of a lifetime in her portrayal of the tormented artist.
10:21 PM, 26th June, 2010
This classic movie, although now almost 80 years old, still rates very highly on IMDb. Want to know why? Well, apart from a superb cast, the movie actually has an interesting storyline, is well acted and includes some classic songs not least of which is the famous “Falling In Love Again” (although I prefer Dietrich’s rendition of the song at Wimbledon in 1975). Plus, of course, it stars Marlene Dietrich – a cult idol for certain sections of the movie-going public.
So what’s all the fuss about? The film follows the story of Professor Immanuel Rath (Jannings), a sensitive teacher who has trouble controlling his class of rowdy schoolboys, and who, inadvertently because of them, meets and falls in love with nightclub singer Lola (Dietrich).
They end up marrying, but the marriage is a disaster as Lola continually flirts with other men, driving the professor literally crazy. This is a poignant film, well worth watching – all the way through there are hints of the tragedy to come, through references to some of Shakespeare’s tragic heroes, and through the loss of things the professor loves and cherishes.