BAC Nord

Greg Cerva draws his gun

BAC Nord (released by Netflix as The Stronghold) tells the story of a case that’s notorious in the annals of French policing, when a unit of Marseille cops was hauled in and accused of drug trafficking and dealing. Their defence? They were part of an undercover and slightly off-limits operation ordered from higher up and now being officially denied. Whether that was or wasn’t the case is what the film is about, though it makes it clear from the beginning that it clearly was. And in the characters of the three main characters – granite-tough middle-aged leader Grégory Cerva (Gilles Lellouche), new family man Yass (Karim Leklou) and charming playa Antoine (François Civil) … Read more

Mandibles

Manu and Jean-Gab

Mandibles (Mandibules in the original French) is a film by Quentin Dupieux, the guy who in 1999 gave the world Flat Eric, a nodding glove puppet with deadly comic timing originally designed to sell Levi’s Sta-Prest clothing. Aspects of the manic, affectless, idiot-savant spirit of Eric (if you don’t know him, here’s an example) can often be seen in Dupieux’s characters. Dupieux’s people are usually Flat in some way. There’s often something not-quite-there about the storyline too, and Dupieux has an unusual way of framing his shots – deliberately slightly too high, or too low, always just a bit off somehow. All fully evident here. Manu (Grégoire Ludig), a bum who sleeps on … Read more

Sibyl

Sibyl in clingy sexy black dress

    Billed as a drama, Sibyl is in fact a tragic comedy, a brilliantly dry and pitiless one Kafkaesque in its analysis of a person in self denial and also Kafkaesque in being almost opaque until that “ah-haa!” moment comes along. Director and co-writer Justine Triet, a fan of Hitchcock and Polanski, dives right in. Even before the opening credits we’ve met Sibyl, a shrink and former novelist who now wants to get back in the writing game. “Don’t do it,” boiled down, is the advice she gets from an old editor friend. But Sibyl does it anyway. Sibyl (Virginie Efira) is also a recovering alcoholic who really shouldn’t have another drink, … Read more