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Thread: JACQUES AUDIARD revisited

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2002
    SF Bay Area

    JACQUES AUDIARD revisited

    Jacques Audiard revisited

    (Feature films)

    1994 See How They Fall/Regarde les hommes tomber
    1996 A Self-Made Hero/Un héros très discret
    2001 Read My Lips/Sur mes lèvres
    2005 The Beat MY Heart Skipped/De battre mon cœur s'est arrêté
    2009 A Prophet/ Un prophète
    2012 Rust and Bone/De rouille et d'os
    2015 Dheepan
    2018 The Sisters Brothers
    2021 Paris, 13th District/ Les Olympiades, Paris 13e

    INTRO. Jacques Audiard has a particular cachet for anyone who loves both French cinema and neo noir: his skill in grafting together genres is his own. Audiard seemed to sneak up on us as a director. I had not heard of him. (My ignorance: he was highly acclaimed from when he first began directing.) A SELF-MADE HERO/UN HEROS TRES DISCRET (1996) with Matthieu Kassovitz, showed in US movie theaters but I didn't even go to it at the time.Emmanuelle Devos and the sidewise twist of 'polar noir'+ offbeat romance made READ MY LIPS/SUR MES LEVRES (2001) admittedly quite special. Still, it felt very, very low-keyed. But then: Boom! Along came THE BEAT MY HEART SKIPPED/DE BATTRE MON COER S'EST ARRÊTÉ[/I]TE (2005). A memorable movie year for me, 2005, I seemed to be spending more time writing movie reviews and less time in the art studio. At his mother's prompting I was regularly accompanying precocious film buff Travis to local movies and festivals. Toward the end of 2005 thanks to the prompting of FILMLEAF editor and then Film Society of Lincoln Center Art Director Peter Wilson I attended my first NYFF press screenings. It was Travis who decided we had to see 'THE BEAT' twice. I think I wound up going back and watching it for a third time on my own. With 'THE BEAT'S' seething mix of crime and artistic aspiration and sudden star Romain Duris' explosive intensity thus burned into my memory Jacques Audiard all of a sudden became my new go-to French director. My loyalty was rewarded four years later with the epic A PROPHET (2009), which again featured the wonderful Niels Arestrup and made the young, virtually unknown Tahar Rahim a star and which I saw in Paris and rewatched Stateside remembering the beautiful underground Étoile Saint Germain cinema where I first saw it. The excitement of going to a new Audiard film gradually started to wane a little after the peak of A PROPHET, which Audiard himself said was exhausting to make. But he worked at a very high pitch for a long time and there have been some other very interesting movies since that I will describe here. Things may be looking up with PARIS 13TH DISTRICT (2022), but whatever happens, even with his earliest work Audiard cut out a place for himself as a distinctive noir master somewhere in the shadowy corridor occupied by Jean-Pierre Melville and Henri-Jacques Clouzot. Audiard has not ceased to win a raft of awards for everything he has done. But I haven't looked back much till now.

    REGARDE LES HOMMES TOMBER/SEE HOW THEY FALL/REGARDE LES HOMMES TOMBER (1994) Audiard's debut film, with Jean-Louis Trintignant, Matthieu Kassovitz, which I had never seen. I recently bought a DVD. MUBI has references to favorable English language reviews HERE. Audiard didn't come out of nowhere. His family already was in the business so much it complicated things and he turned away at first. See the knowledgeable mini-bio by Enrique Bocanegra on IMDb.
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 11-16-2022 at 01:44 AM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2002
    SF Bay Area
    SEE HOW HEY FALL/REGARDE LES HOMMES TOMBER (1994). See this Amazon customer review, because he points out the terrible quality of the DVD.He also describes the film well. Also see the Variety review by Lisa Nesselson. Audiard's debut isn't up to what was to come, except that it's weirder than the usual mediocre noir. It's got funny and it's got torture by electric shock. It's got a man who describes TV shows to a blind woman, and a guy who goes to the coma ward and reads the news and recounts his day to his comatose friend and plays a toy piano for him. In fact it's perhaps not a noir but the fable-like saga of a trio of losers, told in two time frames three years apart that come together. Based on a novel by Teri White called Triangle, it concerns Simon (Jean Yanne), a worn-out married calling card sale salesman who stakes out some crooks for his best friend, a cop. A shootout puts the friend in a coma. Simon goes looking for who did it. This leads him to Marx (Jean-Louis Trintignant) a petty thug and gambler with a bum leg and a cane, whom we observe several years earlier meeting on the road and adopting young nitwit and sometime Domino's Pizza employee Fréderic (Matthieu Kassovitz), whom he spurs to rename himself as Johnny. Johnny is too soft to be an enforcer for Donata, the gangster Marx works for, but dim and lacking in moral sense enough to carry out the hits Donata forces on Marx to repay his big gambling debts. Is Marx-Johnny a father-son relationship, or a gay one? Weirdly, Simon seems to be studying up to be homosexual. Are these fragments from the novel that have lost some of their meaning? A "dream" is pointless and so is a voiceover that comes in like, twice. Seen on a big screen some of the images (it was in the NYFF) would nice. It's been noted Trintignant is cast very out of his usual glamorous, tough-moody mode here, and that's fun, though maybe Yanne is better. But the real winner is Kassovitz, who was about to direct LA HAINE/HATE, which became famous. Kassovitz was awarded the 1995 Meilleur Espoir Masculin/Best Young Male Actor César award for his performance as Johnny. Maybe it was how Kassovitz turned out here that led Audiard to turn around right away and feature him in his 1995 film A SELF-MADE HERO/UN HÉRO TRÈS DISCRET. This first film shows us raw Audiard elements, the unclassifiable people and the mixture of genres - and the original writing: he had written screenplays for several years before directing SEE HOW THEY FALL.

    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 11-27-2023 at 09:57 AM.


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