Benedetta

Bartolomea and Benedetta

How funny is Benedetta meant to be? Is it a serious film examining the mindset of religious people of a different time, or a nunsploitation flick straining every sinew to get its stars out of their clothes and comically at it? It’s an adaptation of Judith C Brown’s book, Immodest Acts: The Life of a Lesbian Nun in Reinaissance Italy. But tellingly, Gerard Soeteman, who worked on the original, never-realised adaptation with director Paul Verhoeven in the 1980s, had his name removed from the credits when he realised which way Verhoeven and new screenwriter David Birke were taking the material for the 2021 version. In bawdy, winkingly vulgar style, not unlike Pasolini’s Canterbury … Read more

Adieu les cons aka Bye Bye Morons

Suze peers from behind a tree

The French comedy Adieu Les Cons (Bye Bye Morons in English) is dedicated to Monty Python’s Terry Jones, who died while it was being made, and also features a blink-and-miss-it cameo by Terry Gilliam, another Python. Given that the film’s director, co-writer and star, Albert Dupontel, is a big fan of the British comedy troupe, you might expect this film, which did incredibly well at the César Awards (the French Oscars) to be full of Pythonesque silliness, absurdity and gentle mocking of the staid middle class. Yes… but mostly no. It stars the ever-brilliant Virginie Efira, a still centre of calm as the mayhem escalates, as Suze, a hairdresser who’s just been told that … 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