Saturday, August 13th, 2005
A Punchup At A Wedding
A Very Long Engagement is French director Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s follow-up to his international hit Amelie and also stars the actress whom that film made a star, Audrey Tautou. The story of a young French woman who sets out to find her fiancee who went missing in World War I, it deftly combines romance, mystery, humour and war into a beautifully shot, mostly sweet but sometimes graphically violent film. The large cast of characters is somewhat difficult to keep track of, not helped along by the fact that moustaches make lots of men look the same, but even with all the plot twists and turns it’s not too difficult to hang onto the main narrative thread.
Tautou is excellent, alternating between determined and despairing as she seeks out the fate of her beloved. There’s also a completely unexpected appearance by Jodie Foster who seems completely at home in a French film. Impressive. While there isn’t the overtly fantastical element that characterized much of Jeunet’s earlier films, there’s still a sense of whimsy and surrealness in the direction that makes the film distinctively his. The (over)use of coloured camera filters probably helped give it some of that character… this may have been the yellowist film I’ve ever seen. But yeah, good. Long, but worthwhile.
Interesting developments in the land of Love (the band). Despite critical raves for their Forever Changes concerts in recent years, Billboard reports that the band that backed original Love frontman Arthur Lee has decided to sack Arthur Lee for a continuing decline in his “mental and physical health”, and will continue to play Love material as The Love Band. Love had been scheduled to play a show in Toronto a few years ago but it got scotched due to immigration issues – something about Canada not liking Lee’s criminal record (he served jail time on weapons charges before resurrecting the band). I had hoped that they’d find a way back up here before their inevitable disintegration, but it looks like it’s not to be. A shame.
It’s great to see that Alejandro Escovedo is now recovered enough from his hepatitis to be able to tour again, including an October 4 show at the El Mocambo here in Toronto. Also coming to town – Echo & The Bunnymen at the Carlu November 23. Anyone seen them recently? Worthwhile or no? I confess I’ve heard almost nothing of their post-reunion material, hell – I’m still catching up on the original albums.
Graham Coxon, Justine Frischmann and Alan McGee – among others – reflect on the the legacy of Britpop for The Guardian. Via Largehearted Boy, who also offers up an alphabet’s worth of recommended music download sites.
My brother is getting married today. I should probably be there. Have a good day.
np – The National / Sad Songs For Dirty Lovers