Category: French Cinema


Amer, a Belgian/French co-production written and directed by Hélène Cattet and Bruno Forzani, has been sold as a love letter to the Italian “giallo ” films of the ’70s, and so as a huge fan of that genre I had really been looking forward to seeing this one. But be forewarned – although the giallo influence is obvious, it is more in terms of style and atmosphere than it is actual structure. Anyone hoping for a giallo-esque murder mystery will be very disappointed. Heck, anyone expecting a plot will be disappointed. Since most giallo films are remembered more for their style than for their often overly-convoluted plots, it wasn’t necessarily a bad idea for Amer‘s filmmakers to concentrate their tribute on the visuals, music and mood. But there’s a point where “tribute” goes a little too far and crosses into over-the-top parody. Amer crosses that point…and then keeps driving for like ten more miles.

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Elevator to the Gallows was the film debut of celebrated French director Louis Malle, probably best known to most Americans for either “My Dinner with Andre” or “Au revoir, les enfants.” Elevator to the Gallows isn’t really like either of those – having not seen a lot of Malle’s other work, I can’t really speak to how similar it is to some of his other earlier films, but it IS pretty similar to other French films I have seen from the same time.

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Mesrine is a two-film French saga starring Vincent Cassel as Jacques Mesrine, one of the most infamous criminals in French history. If you’ve seen the trailer below, or just seen pretty much any gangster movie made in the last 40 or so years, then you’ve probably got a pretty good idea of what these movies are like – which isn’t a slam or anything. I’m just saying that Mesrine doesn’t really re-invent the wheel when it comes to the genre.

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Take a good look at that picture, and tell me you don’t want to watch this movie. You can’t do it, can you?

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