At Alliance Française on Fridays at 8 pm
The Alliance Française shows its series of French films in a small room in their building at 138 Charoen Prathet Road. The building is directly opposite Wat Chaimongkhon, near the Chedi Hotel. Tell your taxi "Samakhom Frangset" and/or "Wat Chaimongkhon." A contribution of 30 baht is requested; you pay outside at the information desk of the Alliance Française proper.
At Alliance Française on Friday, January 8: Le père Noël est une ordure / Santa Claus Is a Stinker (1981) by Jean-Marie Poiré – 83 mins – France, Comedy. English subtitles.
With Anémone, Josiane Balasko, Marie-Anne Chazel, Christian Clavier, Gérard Jugnot, Thierry Lhermitte.
Félix, disguised as Father Christmas, hands out leaflets advertising a sexy Christmas party. His place is taken by an African Santa Claus and he returns to his caravan only to find his girlfriend Josette about to leave him. When he comes after her, she takes refuge at "SOS Distress,” run by two neurotics, Thérèse and Pierre...
– Alliance description
IMDb viewer: Great comedy! This is the kind of movie you don't mind watching over and over again because its script is so rich, so full of wonderful dialogue and genuinely funny situations, that one view isn't enough to absorb everything. Ultimately, this is a film about the spirit of Christmas in the modern times. We live stressed and frantic lives, so why would Christmas Eve be different form a regular day? That's sort of the premise of this movie.
Le père Noël est une ordure is a black comedy, a very dark one, full of odd characters and bizarre situations. Themes like homosexuality, suicide, and murder aren't left behind and spice up this crazy, passionate, comedy set on Christmas Eve.
The performances are plain terrific, with no exception. The characters are wonderfully defined and the dialogue is delicious. It's impossible not to laugh. A lot! After a relatively calm beginning, the wacky situations start to pile up in a frenzy rhythm. Being a huge fan of black comedies myself, I prefer a more subtle approach to the themes. The humor here is sometimes histrionic, theatrical, and over-the-top. That can be easily accepted because the movie is adapted from a stage play and, in the end, it works in perfection.
At Alliance Française on Friday, January 15: Quand tu descendras du ciel / When You Come Down From Heaven (2003) by Eric Guirado – 100 mins – France. English subtitles.
With Benoît Giros, Serge Riaboukine, Jean-Francois Gallotte, Anne Goesens.
Jerome has just arrived from his farm where there was not enough work. He's hired by the town hall and they give him the dirty jobs. Whereas most of his "colleagues" accept this disgusting work, it is not long before he takes a rebel stand, abetted by a young female journalist...
– Alliance description
IMDb viewer: Homeless brothers! That's Eric Guirado's first effort and it's really worthwhile. Probably inspired by what happened in some cities in the south of France with far right mayors whose names (both the towns and the people) I will pass over in silence of course.
The title (=When you come down from Heaven) is borrowed from a Xmas song by Tino Rossi -which can be heard in Richard Pottier's "destins" (1948). The action takes place some time before Christmas. As Mary Chapin Carpenter sings in "Stones in the road" "(They) have been replaced by souls out on the street /We give a dollar when we pass /And hope our eyes don't meet" In this nice town, the town council wishes a merry Christmas to all the tramps out on the street. Some "security" men round up some of them whom they force to get into their van. Do not panic, it looks like Nazi methods, but no "special" showers are waiting for them. The mayor just wants to get rid of them because "for Christmas, there are too many people on the sidewalks and those people would spoil prettily decorated shops! So they leave them in the cold country, with a crate full of oranges.
Jerome has just arrived from his farm where there was not enough work. He’s hired by the town hall and they give him the dirty job to do. Whereas most of his "colleagues" accept this disgusting work, it is not long before he takes a rebel stand, abetted by a young female journalist.
Quand tu descendras du ciel is a strong movie, which does not lack focus or intensity and there's even a sensational nightmare scene where Jerome lives in a carton with hundreds of his fellow men on a big field.
One can wonder what the last picture means. Perhaps to stick together, cause tomorrow's homeless brothers will perhaps be you or me.
With Catherine Frot, Isabelle Huppert, François Berléand.
Louise, 36, is a charming young woman who is disconcertingly open and rather awkward. She’s a beautician and lives in Le Mans. Martine, 38, is her older sister. She’s a very beautiful, elegant woman, although aloof. She lives a deeply middle-class world in Paris. Louise has written a novel and she has an important meeting in Paris that could change the course of her life. She comes to stay with Martine for three days, during which time she and her obvious happiness drive Martine up the wall and shatters her life...
– Alliance description
DVD Times, Noel Megahey: Essentially a story of two sisters, one from the country with simpler attitudes who comes to stay for a short while with her sophisticated sister who lives in the big city – what sounds like a straightforward fluff comedy of manners actually has a darker, more bitter undercurrent that gives the film an unexpected weight.