Friday, September 5, 2014
After getting the tickets I desired for Sunday (which include THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING and MISS JULIE – 2 films I can’t wait to see), I scurried to a screening that I ended up leaving after 20 minutes. I had been up in the air about seeing it, but when it wasn’t working for me, I decided to scurry across the hall and see GEMMA BOVERY – and I’m glad I did.
GEMMA BOVERY is a modern take on the Flaubert novel MADAME BOVARY (which is next on my list) – but actually based upon a graphic novel by Posy Simmonds (known for her FAR FROM THE MADDING CROWD update TAMARA DREWE). The film was directed by Anne Fontaine (COCO BEFORE CHANEL), and the male protagonist (NEON regulars will recognize Fabrice Luchini from POTICHE and IN THE HOUSE) is a baker who narrates the film and is quite familiar with the Flaubert novel…in fact he interferes and attempts to change the course of actions for the title character Gemma Bovery (which is close to Emma Bovary). This might all sound a little confusing, but it’s actually quite fun (despite its melancholy shadow). Luchini is hysterical, and Gemma Arterton (who plays Gemma Bovery) is sexy and delightful. (I could see Sony Classics, Cohen Media or Music Box films picking up this film for distribution.)
Sadly, I can’t find a trailer with subtitles…below is all I could find.
Next I saw the latest adaptation of MADAME BOVARY. Like ANNA KARENINA and JANE EYRE, MADAME BOVARY has been translated to film numerous times. This version stars Mia Wasikowska in the title role, and thoughthe production values are sturdy, I ultimately think it fell a bit flat. That said, I may be hyper-critical…as I do think there’s an audience that will embrace this adaptation. For me, Emma never really came to life. We see her rack up debt, we see her bored in her marriage, we see her flinging herself into affairs, but she never had that spark that really made me care. I was intrigued enough to stay through the end, but I wasn’t moved to tears. (Though I’m not trying to draw comparisons, I prefer Huppert & Chabrol.)
Sadly, there is no trailer for yet for this film…but here’s a production still.
GUIDANCE is the feature directorial debut of Pat Mills (he also stars in it). In 2009, The Dayton LGBT Film Festival played one of Pat’s hysterical short films – PAT’S FIRST KISS, and I got to meet him here at TIFF a couple weeks before our festival. I’ve kept up with him over the years, and I was happy I could snag a ticket to the world premiere of his first feature. This film is about an out-of-work, alcohol-dependent, delusional actor who lies on his application and applies for a job as a high school counselor (he figures he can play the part). The material is wildly inappropriate (the counselor does vodka shots with students to loosen them up), but there are moments of genuine honesty and tenderness. This combination creates a rather interesting comedy with some wonderful one-liners. I’m quite proud of Mills for seeing this project through and for his upcoming distribution deal (it has yet to be announced, but it’s gonna happen).
Now I’m off to bed. I’ll wake again in less than 6 hours to do it all over again.
Thanks for reading,