Posts Tagged ‘Emmanuelle Riva’

The European movie scene is unique and marvellous. Look beyond the top 10’s and you will find movies that bombard your senses and leave you deep in thought.

Movies with subtitles is something that surprisingly few in the UK seem to enjoy. We’re not quite sure why? To shake things up a bit, here’s a list of European movies that will make you laugh, weep, shiver and think.

Armour (Love) – dir. Michael Haneke / Austria | France | Germany

After Anne (the late Emmanuelle Riva) suffers a stroke, Georges’ and Anne’s life together hit a point of no return. The two retired pianists suddenly face the perhaps toughest challenge of the lifelong love: old age and the deterioration of mind and body.

Brutally honest, Armour portrays aging love and the helplessness that follows when a loved one slowly succumbs to the ravages of old age.

We follow Georges’ struggle to accept the inevitable, as Anne suffers from early dementia and a series of strokes, reducing her to little more than a helpless child.

“In the course of two hours, Haneke suggests that the ultimate test of a lifelong passion may come not in its first flourish, but in the compassion of its very last days, and that while love cannot conquer death, it can give life’s bleakest moments a run for their money” David Hughes

Jagten (The Hunt) – dir. Thomas Vinterberg / Denmark | Sweden

In this critically acclaimed Danish thriller, Thomas Vinterberg shows how a close- knit small community can crumble in no time when rumours are on the run.

Lucas, a small town nursery teacher, is falsely accused of sexually abusing his best friends daughter.

As we follow the slightly awkward but charming divorcé being torn apart and shunned by the local community, we are reminded of how relentlessly a smaller group can turn on you when you need it most.

“Vinterberg sets our suspicions twitching from the off, which makes us wonder later, with no small measure of guilt, which side of the mob we would have been on.” Robbie Collin

La Tête en friche (My Afternoons with Marguerite) – dir. Jean Becker / France

La Tête en friche is a heartwarming atypical love story. Germain is a very self- conscious, bloated man-baby in dungarees. Marguerite an articulate, fraile, and intelligent 95-year-old.

In a public square in a small French village, Marguerite and Germain form a close friendship over literature. Marguerite’s subtle love for words and Germain’s quirky wonder over them brings them closer day by day.

“Germain suffers through flashbacks to his unhappy childhood, but seems on the whole serene. He loves Annette but he declares himself “in love” with Margueritte.

So are we, a little. She is bright-eyed and high-spirited, and never overplays the heart-tugging” Roger Ebert

Les Émotifs anonymes (Romantics anonymous) – dir. Jean-Pierre Améris / France | Belgium

With both main characters suffering from awkward bashfulness, emotif, this french comedy is a quirky but adorable story of how two very shy chocolatiers, Angélique and Jean-René, fall in love.

As the chocolate enterprise takes its worst toll, Angélique, originally hired for sales, anonymously develops a new line of special chocolates. Through their passion for chocolate, the two chocolatiers finally find a way to communicate.

“The tale of two pathologically shy chocolate makers who are meant for each other but are too afraid to connect is a mug of warm cocoa with marshmallow topping that produces a comfy feel-good glow” Stephen Holden

Bal (Honey) – dir. Semih Kaplanoğlu / Turkey | Germany | France

This award winning film is set in the densely forested region of north-eastern Turkey. Yakup and his family lives in an isolated mountain area, and he makes a living by climbing trees to harvest wild honey.

Yusef, Yakup’s son, struggles in school. He is lonely, has a stammer and is desperate for attention.

One day Yakup doesn’t come home.

In an astonishing scenery, we watch Yusef slip into silence as his mother Zehra’s heart breaks.

“It is a film whose unhurried pace must be allowed to grow on you, but once it has, there is something engrossing about the tragedy unfurling slowly and indirectly before our eyes” Peter Bradshaw

Kon-Tiki – dir. Petter Skavlan / UK | Norway | Denmark | Germany | Sweden

This spectacle of a film is based on the true story of the Norwegian ethnographer Thor Heyerdahl, who set out to prove that people from South America could have settled in Polynesia in pre- Columbian times.

We follow Thor (a pompous Norwegian man who cannot swim) in his adventure to raise money, build a balsa- wood raft, and draft from South America to Polynesia (4,300 miles). With a crew of several Norwegian men trapped on an ocean raft, arguments unfold and their craft of a raft, ‘Kon-Tiki’ is put to the test.

“What the film doesn’t skimp on is spectacle. Brilliantly shot in a rugged National Geographic-like way by the cinematographer Geir Hartly Andreassen, it captures the sailors’ feelings of both awe and terror about their self-inflicted predicament” Geoffrey Mcnab

About the author

At Global Language Services Ltd we’re passionate about languages and language nuances. We’re a language service agency based in Scotland, supplying interpretation and translation services locally, nationally and internationally.

The technology of the 21st century is remarkable, but however good the translation technology is, it cannot yet pick up the subtleties of a language, the culture that underpins it, or even the humour that oils many of our conversations.

When Alexa and Siri say nae we say yae!

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Austrian auteur Michael Haneke has made a habit of challenging taboos in his 20-odd year cinematic career, from racial conflict in Hidden, media violence in Funny Games and the emptiness of modern life in The Seventh Continent. He has an innate ability to hone in on what he deems to be troubling Western society, and subject it to his own meticulous cinematic scalpel. Reaching his 70th year, he has turned towards an issue that he himself will surely be contemplating in the years to come; the ageing process.

Working again in his adopted home town of Paris, he has written a film about an elderly couple living alone in their apartment, stalked by the threat of growing old and senile. Georges (Jean-Louis Trintignant) and Anne (Emmanuelle Riva) were both involved in classical music; Anne was evidently a teacher, Georges’ occupation unclear. They are still in love, though prone to the occasional niggle at each other. They spend their days inside the apartment, and Haneke’s camera coyly avoids the outside world. Their only visitors are their daughter Eva (Isabelle Huppert) and friendly neighbours.

The film clicks into gear when the two sit down to breakfast one morning. Georges asks Anne something, but there is no reply. She just stares into space. It is this single moment which indicates the tragic decline of Anne’s mental and physical state. Haneke has a way of conjuring immense foreboding with just the tiniest of events; think back to the teens whose seemingly innocent request for some eggs in Funny Games sets in motion the terrible chain of events. So it is a film about the two lovers coming to deal with the loss of life as they know it, and the gradual downward cycle. Typically cheery Haneke fare then.

Haneke makes pains to create a disparity between the couple and the outside world; it is a us vs. them scenario. A visit from a cherished former pupil ends with him declaring the ‘sadness’ of the situation. Their daughter challenges Georges, issues him with thinly veiled ultimatums, while the newly employed nurses are impersonal and rough with Anne. It is only their downstairs neighbours who exude any real empathy with their situation, and it is no surprise that they are not so much younger. Haneke seems to be indicating a clear age divide between those who see a terrible scenario unfolding and those who have to live through it.

Amour is not an easy film to watch, but often the most rewarding films are also the most challenging. It is a struggle to think of many films that deal with ageing fullstop, let alone in such an uncompromising way, so for that Haneke should be applauded. The performances by the veteran actors Trintignant and Riva are superb and devoid of vanity. Aesthetically the film is classic Haneke; muted interiors, wide angle shots, long takes. The most striking thing about this new film, though, even despite the grim subject matter, is a sense of humanity creeping in throughout the film. Yes, there are moments of domestic horror and cruelty, but the defining emotion is the one clung to by the couple; amour.

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