A Belmondo Birthday Salute

Tomorrow Jean-Paul Belmondo will be celebrating his 77th birthday. He’s one of my favorite actors but I haven’t had the opportunity to write about him very much so I decided to rectify that over at the Movie Morlocks Blog. I watched Breathless (À bout de souffle; 1960) for the sixth or seventh time yesterday and I seem to appreciate it more every time I see … Continue reading A Belmondo Birthday Salute

Modern Mondays: Love Songs (2007)

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When I first mentioned that I was going to start “Modern Mondays” at Cinebeats I briefly discussed how much I liked musicals so I thought I’d share a few thoughts about the best musical I’ve seen in recent years, Love Songs (aka Les chansons d’amour; 2007).

Love Songs was directed by the talented French filmmaker and writer Christophe Honore (Ma mère; 2004, Dan Paris; 2006) and features an original musical score by composer Alex Beaupain. It also stars one of my favorite working actors, the incredibly handsome, charming and charismatic Louis Garrel (The Dreamers; 2003, Regular Lovers; 2005, Dans Paris; 2006). The film tells a rather simple but multilayered and bittersweet story about three young lovers living in Paris who are torn apart physically and emotionally after one of them unexpectedly dies. Romantic films featuring bisexual threesomes instead of typical “boy meets girl” couples are rare enough, but I’m pretty sure that Love Songs is one of the first full-length musical involving a ménage à trois.

The film’s unconventional take on love and loss is refreshing and beautifully handled by director Christophe Honore. In many ways Love Songs is the director’s ode to French cinema, particularly musicals, from the 1960s. Fans of classic French films such as Jacques Demy’s The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (1964), Francois Truffaut’s Jules and Jim (1962) and Jean-Luc Godard’s A Woman Is a Woman (1961) will easily spot their influence on Honore’s film, but like the New Wave artists that he celebrates here, director Christophe Honore is clearly interested in breaking new ground. He sidesteps much of the ambiguity that was often a trademark of ’60s cinema to unabashedly deal in honest human anguish, passion and desire.

Love Songs is a sentimental film and I appreciated its sweetness and romanticism, but it’s also a thoughtful meditation on loss and the painful grieving process that occurs after we loose someone we deeply care about. There’s nothing more agonizing than the sudden and unexpected death of a loved one and I think Love Songs greatest achievement besides its wonderful score, smart script and beautiful cinematography is the way in which it expertly conveys that overwhelming sense of unexplainable sorrow that can become paralyzing when you’re in deep mourning.

Continue reading “Modern Mondays: Love Songs (2007)”

Filmmaking & Politics in 1968

The following four videos make up a fascinating 40 min. film by D.A. Pennebaker called Two American Audiences: La Chinoise – A Film in the Making. It chronicles a meeting that took place in 1968 between director Jean-Luc Godard and NYU film students who discuss Godard’s film La Chinoise, filmmaking and politics. Two American Audiences: La Chinoise – A Film in the Making Part I. … Continue reading Filmmaking & Politics in 1968

12 Films I Must See

I’ve mentioned before how much I dislike blog memes. I find most of them really dull and pointless, but occasionally I get asked to participate in one that sparks my interest. The following 12 Films I Must See meme was forwarded my way by Dennis at Sergio Leone and the Infield Fly Rule and it’s a doozy. The point of the meme is to list … Continue reading 12 Films I Must See

DVD of the Week: Pierrot le fou (1965)

I’ve been trying to write out my thoughts about Jean-Luc Godard’s Pierrot le fou (1965) for days, but even after watching the film twice and enjoying all the wonderful extras included with the fantastic new Criterion DVD, I’m finding words inadequate to describe how much I’ve fallen in love with this wonderful movie in so short a time. My love for Pierrot le fou is … Continue reading DVD of the Week: Pierrot le fou (1965)

List Making

Pictured Above: High and Low (1963), Hiroshima Mon Amour (1959) Eyes Without a Face (1960) Rocco and His Brothers (1960), Cleo From 5 to 7 (1961) I was invited to participate in putting together a list of Favorite Foreign Language Films at Edward Copeland’s blog recently which is now open to online voting and I hope my blog readers will cast their vote for their … Continue reading List Making

Contempt (1963)

I love soundtracks. I listen to film scores almost daily and as my last.fm charts show, I never get tired of my favorites. My blog’s name “Cinebeats” is directly tied to my love for films and film soundtracks. When I heard about the Film Music Blog-a-thon I thought long and hard about the composers that I love and the scores that have left a deep … Continue reading Contempt (1963)

Vive La France!

The Cannes Film Festival turns 60 this week and that’s reason enough to celebrate all things fabulous and French, so I plan on doing just that throughout the next week until the festival wraps up. I haven’t come across many books written about the early days of Cannes but I can recommend Cannes – Fifty Years of Sun, Sex & Celluloid: Behind the Scenes at … Continue reading Vive La France!