This year’s 5th Rendezvous with French Cinema is a real treat for all lovers of film especially European film buffs as this is a rare opportunity to catch some of the best and more recent European (especially French, obviously) on the big screen. Some of the films that they’ve managed to bring to Singapore this year includes this year’s Palme d’Or winner, Dheepan, the closing film (of the Cannes Film Festival) Ice and the Sky, Girlhood a film that has since entered numerous film critics’ Top 10 list of 2015 as well as Vally of Love starring 2 of France’s biggest film stars – Gerard Depardieu and Isabelle Huppert. Valley of Love might not be the best French film you have ever seen, but it’s definitely a film worth watching. If films and movies are mediums of storytelling then Valley of Love is a pretty good representation of French stories.
What I love most about European films is the lack of pretence, it might be a little obnoxious at times but it very rarely sells itself to reach a wider audience. Most of the time, they remain true to the story that the director is trying to tell which results in an engaging and possibly even captivating film. Valley of Love reunites both Gerard Depardieu and Isabelle Huppert 35 years after Loulou. The two star as a divorced couple who reunite in the Death Valley on instructions from their dead son in his suicide note. They both play actors in the film but aren’t your typical Hollywood fare, he is fat to the point of near obesity and she, while resembling the beautiful Julianne Moore, has a feisty personality that borders on annoying. They are imperfect individuals and together they are equally if not more imperfect.
Spending almost a week in the picturesque albeit scorching hot Death Valley on the instructions of their son, Michael, so that they may see him again reunites the couple and being together is a convenient way for them to face old problems. While it appears less mystical and more a well-planned excuse for them to face their loss together, it nonetheless provides the opportunity for them to confront the loss of their somewhat estranged son together. Throughout the film, it’s clear that while they love their son, they hardly know him; both content on taking it out on one another. While the film never truly meets its full potential, both the stellar cast as well as fascinating premise is left under-utilised, it remains an honest and sincere look at two vastly different people dealing with loss. Of course, there are little gems of typical European humour, self-knowing and self-deprecating humour with my favourite being Gerard signing an autograph as Bob De Niro.
Valley of Love will be showing on 12 December 9pm!
Another film that will be on the big screen is Mon Roi (My King) which after the popularity of the initial screening earlier on will have the fantastic opportunity to catch it at The Cathay on Tuesday 15 December (7pm). The film stars Vincent Cassel & Emmanuelle Bercot, the latter of whom took home the Award of Best Actress during the 2015 Cannes Film Festival. Tickets can be bought here!