Thursday, December 8, 2011

Rendezvous With French Cinema

Yesterday, I attended the opening gala premiere of the inaugural 'Rendezvous With French Cinema' film festival as a guest of champagne house Perrier-Jouet. The French film event organised by the French Embassy in Singapore, the Alliance Fran├žaise de Singapour and Unifrance aims to bring the best of contemporary French cinema to Singapore. It will feature screenings of the latest French movies and offer a business platform where regional industry players will have the opportunity to meet with representatives from the French film industry.

Taking place from 8 to 13 December 2011, a total of 20 films will be screened over four days across four venues – Cathay, Golden Village and Shaw cinemas as well as the Alliance Fran├žaise de Singapour. 16 of the films will be new releases while a retrospective segment will feature four previously released movies.

The most impressive part of the opening gala event was actually the film itself. The opening film 'The Artist' starring Jean Dujardin and Berenice Bejo really blown me away. I was rather skeptical at first because I didn't think that a silent film could work in modern days.

However, I was rather intrigued by the innovative idea and courage of director Michel Hazanavicius to go back to basics. The film reminded me that true acting existed in the old days where actors can only rely on their acting to convey a storyline. The luxury of sound and special effects to fluff things up was non-existent till 1931!

The story takes place in Hollywood between 1927 and 1931 and focuses on a declining male film star and a rising actress, as silent cinema grows out of fashion and is replaced by the talkies. The film is itself a silent film and in black-and-white.

Lead actor Jean Dujardin performance in the film totally justifies his win of the Golden Palm in Cannes 2011 for Best Actor. He took us on a roller coaster ride depicting the rise and fall of silent movie star George Valentin.

Berenice Bejo performance as Peppy Miller, a young actress hopeful set for a big break, was both entertaining and charismatic. I also love how her fashion evolved in the film as she went on from an extra to a mega movie star. I truly love the old school glamour when ladies dressed up in splendour.

If you like films, especially French films, do make a rendezvous with French cinema this week. I highly recommend 'The Artist'. Oh, and if you love dogs, the cute dog in the film will truly wow you with its acting. Simply amazing!

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