Thursday, April 22, 2010

Alliance Française schedule

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, April 23, 8 pm:  Le couperet / The Ax (2005) by Costa-Gavras – 122 mins – Belgium/ France/ Spain, Comedy/ Crime/ Drama/ Thriller. English subtitles.


With José Garcia, Karin Viard, Geordy Monfils, Christa Theret, Ulrich Tuku, Olivier Gourmet.


A business executive, who was fired by his company after it underwent restructuring, is ready to do anything to get his job back - even if it means killing his rivals.

– Alliance description, James Travers:Costa-Gavras, renowned for an impressive series of political thriller-dramas in the ’70s and ’80s, makes a rare excursion into black comedy with this inspired adaptation of a popular novel by American writer Donald E. Westlake. It’s a slick social satire with a razor sharp edge, in which the murderous antics of a psychopathic family man take on a disturbing banality when set in the context of the harsh dog-eat-dog world of soulless, profit-obsessed corporations.

Easily Costa-Gavras’s most enjoyable and socially relevant film for well over a decade, Le Couperet is every bit as compelling as Westlake’s novel, skillfully combining Hitchcockian suspense, human interest drama and some great, side-splitting comedy. The characters are well-drawn and well-played, the plot ingenious and satisfying, whilst the underlying social themes are apparent without being over-labored. It’s meaty, thought-provoking, and fun. You’d expect nothing less of one of French cinema’s most admired film directors.   

The star of the film is José Garcia, a popular actor who - unfortunately – is still very much associated with low-brow crowd-pulling comedies, in spite of the fact that his talents clearly out-class such mediocre fare. In what is almost certainly his best screen performance to date, Garcia brings a dark intensity and realism to his portrayal that makes his character genuinely disturbing and yet also thoroughly likeable. You want him to succeed so that he can win back his self-esteem and save his family – even if this means literally butchering his rivals. What does this say about the kind of world we now live in, where in order to survive, we must eliminate the opposition? What will you do – when the axe falls? A spot of D.I.Y. head-hunting, perhaps?


Synopsis: When dedicated company man Bruno Davert loses his job in a corporate reorganization, he comes close to losing his self-respect and his family. After two years of futile job-hunting, he hits on a brilliant scheme to win a senior post with another company. By advertising a bogus job vacancy, he gets potential rivals in his field to send him their CVs – with personal details which enable him to find them – and kill them...

Man on Train
At Alliance Française on Friday, April 30, 8 pm:  L'Homme du train / Man on the Train (2002) by Patrice Leconte – 90 mins – Comedy/Drama. English subtitles. Generally favorable reviews:  75/75 out of 100.


With Jean Rochefort, Johnny Hallyday, Jean-François Stévenin, Charlie Nelson, Pascal Parmentier, Isabelle Petit-Jacques, Edith Scob.


At a deserted train station, a teacher and a gangster meet and realize that each might have been better suited to the other man's way of life. As a friendship of sorts develops between these opposite personalities, each starts to envy the other and by the week's end, everything will change for both of them...

– Alliance description


RottenTomatoes: In a sleepy French backwater, a train pulls into a deserted station, depositing a lone passenger: a grizzled man in a fringed leather jacket. He looks like a criminal, albeit an aging criminal, a man who has never before asked questions of life or made deep connections with anybody, arriving for a final showdown, and he is. But, within minutes, he bumps into a local retired poetry teacher in dapper clothes, a man who looks like someone waiting for something exciting to happen, who appears perfectly settled in his life, and he wasuntil now.


Suddenly, these two disparate men are about to find, at the very end of the line, an unexpected friendship, an opportunity to look back on their dashed hopes, and a magical, momentary chance to explore the road not taken.


Patrice Leconte's award-winning Man on the Train is a simple, humor-filled tale that resonates with deeper themes of friendship and fate, of longing and regret and most of all, of the passage of time and the choices we make. It is the story of two men who might never have met but for an accident, who appear to have nothing in common, yet who change each other's view of life at the last possible moment.


When the criminal Milan (French rock icon Johnny Hallyday) rolls into town planning to knock off the local bank on Saturday, he assumes it will go off without a hitch. Then he encounters Manesquier (leading French actor Jean Rochefort). A retired poetry teacher whose sedentary lifestyle bores even himself, Manesquier offers Milan a much-needed drink of water in his musty old chateau. The only thing they seem to share is that Manesquier, too, has an important date on Saturday; but his is for open-heart surgery. From the start, the two men are equally wary of the other. Manesquier senses that Milan is up to no good, while Milan is driven crazy by Manesquier's incessant talking. But, when Milan is forced to hole up in Manesquier's mansion until the robbery, the distance between them begins to disappear. Suddenly, Manesquier wonders what it would be like to trade his books and art for Milan's gun and life of adventure. Meanwhile, Milan covets Manesquier's bedroom slippers and cozy life of stability.


As their friendship develops, surprising moments of humor and tenderness emerge, as each seemingly defies his personality to explore his yearning for the life of the other.


Saturday arrives. Milan and Manesquier have no choice but to part ways and head towards their different destinies. But even their destinies are no longer the same, for their very dreams have become intertwined.

– from RottenTomatoes

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