Film Reviews by GPH

Welcome to GPH's film reviews page. GPH has written 5 reviews and rated 8 films.

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It All Starts Today

So near the edge

(Edit) 19/11/2010

An idealistic teacher faces grim conditions. Children of kindergarten age are usually in frame, or if not, just have been and about to be again. And Tavernier takes the threads of his story at his usual lesuired pace. One could accordingly expect 113 minutes of consistent gloom and sentimentality. But this is Tavernier. His narratives are all, without exception, compelling and convincing, directed and filmed in almost documentary style. Situations emerge, reach a crisis and resolve with complete naturalness. One never feels that one's being told what to think and feel. (Watch it with others and you'll find that though all are involved none will read the film in the same way.) The mis-en-scene, the acting and above all, the unerring assurance of Tavernier's direction are quite masterly. (Watch it with others and no-one, for nearly two hours, will move a muscle.) By the end, you'll feel that you've really been there, having travelled through just about all the emotions there are. A totally satisfying film.

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Summer Hours

A perfect piece of film-making

(Edit) 27/10/2010

This is a remarkably skilled and satisfying piece of film-making. The situation is an ordinary one. A mother dies, seemingly anxious about how her three very different grown-up children are going to handle their inheritance. They have not thought about this until they have to. The film is about how they do so. The circumstance is presented in absorbing detail, the characters, provided with a first-class screenplay, are subtly drawn, brilliantly directed, and quite flawlessly acted, their relations with themselves and each other (and importantly, their children) are consistently compelling, and the outcome, though it keeps one guessing to the very end, is, when it happens, utterly persuasive. There is no gratuitous drama, no violence, no overt sex, no sentimentality, nothing in any way cheap or meretricious. The pace is perfect and whole is also just very good to look at. And it is very much a film: one can't imagine this being done in any other medium. Assayas's touch, in short, is flawlessly sure. Quite brilliant. And in the course of it all, we learn a lot about some fascinating French institutions, especially the Musee d'Orsay, and about a range of reactions to France's past and present. It surely merits ten stars out of five.

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The Watchmaker of St. Paul

Ironies

(Edit) 19/02/2010

It's extraordinary that Tavernier's first feature should be so accomplished. The story is at once slight and deep: an ordinary man's relationship with his son. (To say more is to begin to give it away.) Directed with Tavernier's compellingly natural pace, characters whose relations develop, and change, in convincingly complex ways, unfailingly good performances, Noirest especially is quite stunning, beautifully shot in and around Lyons. (Meals also star, discreetly.) Complete pleasure, total satisfaction.

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Safe Conduct

One of Tavernier's best

(Edit) 12/01/2010

Long but not a minute too much so. The characters, drawn from life in the French film industry during the Occupation, are complex and involving, the story is by turns serious and funny and endlessly subtle, the acting and direction impeccable. So absorbing that one can almost forget that one's watching a film. None better on coping in France in the early 1940s.

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Paris, I Love You

Je t'aime, mais Paris?

(Edit) 21/10/2009

A series of inventive and absorbing short stories, generally very well conceived, skilfully directed, extremely well acted, beautfully shot. And many are very imaginative indeed. It's Paris now, a post-moldern city, edgy, sharp, no one thing; a post-modern city of heterogeneous characters most of whom are compellingly confused at the start of each story and often remain so, their 'loves' notwithstanding. Indeed, although a different arrondissement frames each story, they could take place in any one of a dozen or more cities now. Nothing particularly Parisian, therefore. Which is fine. It's us now.

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