Monday, April 19, 2010

Nelly and Mr. Arnaud

aka Nelly et Monsieur Arnaud

Claude Sautet, 1995, France (8.2*)
This is a must for fans of doe-eyed Emmanuelle Béart (Mission Impossible, La Belle Noiseuse), who burst into stardom with the title role in Manon of the Spring (and receiving a Cesar nomination), the completion of the novel begun with Jean De Florette, where she played Gerard Depardieu's daughter. Here she plays a young woman, Nelly, going through a divorce, and who meets a kindly (and wealthy) gent, wonderfully played by veteran actor Michelle Serrault (with over 100 films in his career), and agrees to become his editor for a book of memoirs of his days as a judge in the south Pacific, which preceded a more successful business career.
While working at his home, the relationship develops into a very interesting and complex friendship story, and an understated romance, and which also includes the Mr. Arnaud's publisher, who is Nelly's age and gently pursues her romantically. This is all very well acted and directed and may be a masterpiece of understatement; or it just may have been slowly paced, you'll have to access that for yourselves, but I would definitely check this one out.

Serrault deservedly won a Cesar Award for actor, as did director Sautet, while Beart (for actress) was among 9 other nominations for the film, which also received a BAFTA nod for foreign language film.

Note: if you expect to see Emmanuelle naked, that's not this film but La Belle Noiseuse, a lengthy (4 hr) epic in which she plays an artist's muse and nude model; she's naked for about two hours in that film, but it's a major bore and could have been half the length. She was very good in that film as well though, another Cesar nominated performance.


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Artist, photographer, composer, author, blogger, metaphysician, herbalist

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These are the individual film reviews of what I'm considering the best 1000 dvds available, whether they are films, miniseries, or live concerts. Rather than rush out all 1000 at once, I'm doing them over time to allow inclusion of new releases - in fact, 2008 has the most of any year so far, 30 titles in all; that was a very good year for films, one of the best ever.

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