Anaïs in Love

Daniel and Anaïs

Anaïs is hot. A pretty young French woman who wears a succession of dresses that show off her long legs, her bare arms, her lovely skin. With her hair cascading down her back, she’s a gorgeous, flighty, scatty, slip of a thing who, silly her, gets herself into the most terrible situations and then, skipping elegantly with an impish grin, escapes out of them back into her consequence-free existence. Anaïs has a boyfriend, Raoul, but she doesn’t seem particularly interested in him. She has commitments to a university thesis but seems to be treating that in the same take-it-or-leave-it way. Early on she discovers she’s pregnant and so, alors, pops off to the … Read more

Long Live Freedom

Giovannie (left) and Enrico

There aren’t many films about passion in politics, the oeuvre of Leni Riefenstahl to one side. But that’s what you get in writer/director Roberto Andò’s Viva la libertà (Long Live Freedom), the tale of a political party re-energised by an injection of vigour at the top. For vigour read madness. The great Toni Servillo plays two roles. In one he’s the lacklustre leader of an Italian political party who, having been badly heckled at a meeting, does a bunk one night and winds up hiding out in Paris at the home of an old flame. While Enrico hunkers down – eventually finding a gig working incognito on a film set – the party … Read more

Only the Animals

Evelyne and the hopelessly smitten Marion

Dominik Moll’s latest film, Only the Animals (Seules les Bêtes), opens with a striking shot of an African man cycling along the road wearing a live kid goat on his back much as you would a rucksack, arms and legs for straps. But from there we leave the titular animals behind and enter the all-too-human realm. We’re up in the snowy heights of France in winter, where an optimistic insurance agent (Laure Calamy, of Call My Agent fame) is having an affair with Joseph (Damien Bonnard) one of her clients, a recently bereaved soul who leads a silent solitary life. The woman’s truculent oaf of a husband (Denis Ménochet) gets wind of the … Read more

Summer of 85

David and Alex on a motorbike

Intense, sexy and brooding, Summer of 85 (Été 85 in the original French) is François Ozon’s latest look at human relationships of a particularly febrile sort, all set in a seaside town at a time when Ozon himself would have been a teenager. After a languid and deliberately cinematic tracking shot from the water’s edge right up the beach and onto the promenade, Ozon then gives us a smell of what’s about to play out by introducing us to two friends discussing what they’re going to get up to later that day. Both are handsome lads, and seem to be either standing too close to each other, staring too intently at each other … Read more