Sunday, December 21, 2008

Alliance Française schedule

At Alliance Française on Fridays at 8 pm

At Alliance Française on Friday, December 26: No film shown. Holiday!

At Alliance Française on Friday, January 2: No film shown. Holiday!

At Alliance Française on Friday, January 9: Arsène Lupin (2004) by Jean-Paul Salomé – 131 mins – France/ Italy/ Spain/ UK Action/ Adventure/ Crime/ Mystery/ Romance. English subtitles. Generally favorable reviews: 80 out of 100.

With Romain Duris, Kristin Scott Thomas, Marie Bunel, Francoise Lépine, Guillaume Huet, Gerard Chaillou, Eva Green, Pascal Greggory, Robin Renucci.

Based on the early years of the French classy hero, this movie provides all the fun you can expect from a classical adventure movie. Fights, stunts, exotic places, wicked villains, and characters you will love to hate or chill for...

Alliance description

Variety: A thoroughly entertaining period romp bursting with intrigue, Arsene Lupin is a keenly crafted take on the gentleman burglar whose adventures in fin de siecle Paris are immortalized in 18 popular novels by Maurice Leblanc (1864-1941). Elaborate treasure hunt has visual sweep and a terrific cast of scheming characters who range from merely craven to genuinely evil. [There is] much to enjoy. In 1882, future nimble-fingered master of disguise Arsene Lupin is a boy (Guillaume Huet) living in Normandy with his mother (Marie Bunel) and father Jean (Aurelien Wilk) -- a rumored thief. Jean is teaching his son to box when government officials arrive to arrest him. Dad's advice prior to making a daring escape will serve the lad well: "Distract your prey -- that's the key. Remember that and you'll never get caught." For those who do not know him, Monsieur Lupin is a gentleman burglar. He is a son of a criminal and has been educated by his father, though he differs in one respect: he has vowed not to kill anyone, however dire the circumstances. Arsène’s universe is much akin to anything written by Alexandre Dumas, with the difference that Arsène lives in the fin-de-siècle, though the problems he faces remain the same: the royalists trying to re-establish the French Monarchy while rich aristocrats scheming to relieve people of their treasures. Arsène also has the problem -- or pleasure depending on your point of view -- much like James Bond, of falling in love with every lovely lady that passes within ten miles of his sight. Thus romance and intrigue, hidden treasures and multiple identities (Arsène is obviously also a master of disguise) are at the heart of any Lupin story.

The 2004 film adaptation from director and co-screenwriter Jean-Paul Salomé is simply titled Arsène Lupin, and is based on the 1924 novel “The Countess of Cagliostro.” It is high on atmosphere and production values (the reported budget being 23 million Euros), though it treats its narrative only as a necessity to get the audience from one skirmish to the other, from one lady’s bed to the other and from one flaming explosion to the next.

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