The Artist and the Model


France during the war is a perennial setting for filmmakers wishing to impart some quality gravity to their story. The moral stakes are high and clear, the Americans can always be relied upon for a final-act deus ex machina, and everyone just looks so glamorous. Plus, all the international cinema prizes are selected by juries who were young boys at the time, so its an easy and effortless bid for a sentimental vote. The Artist and the Model, Fernando Trueba’s 2012 film about l’occupation de la France, appears to consider itself a contender for membership in this venerable genre. But unfortunately, it’s as lifeless and contrived as an amateur model trying to hold a pose. It has all the set pieces it could possibly want: Nazis, elderly French artists, naked and nubile résistantes. And yet it squanders it on a scanty plot that appears to serve only as justification for letting an old man — the titular artist, not the director or the assumed audience — stare at a nude girl for an hour and forty minutes. Trueba, it seems, considered this to be some kind of a labor of love. He created the role of the sculptor with veteran French actor Jean Rochefort specficially in mind, and the woman who plays the model, Aida Folch, learned to speak French just for the project. The director dedicated the film to a recently deceased brother, a sculptor of some renown. This may be why he chose to have his impassive protagonist […]


San Francisco International Film Festival

Who knew the longest-running film festival in America is presented in San Francisco – shimmering gifts of spring opening at some of our best movie houses? Only fitting, since San Francisco has always been a filmmaker’s dream city. Every major festival except Cannes pivots on a driving force pushing from behind. Ironically the San Francisco International Film Festival attracts major support from the French government and its media arm TV5 Monde, along with the local annex of French banking titan BNP Paribas Group. The French love us, what can I say? We love them back. Fresh off a 2012 season that saw Sundance-acclaimed features make their debut here, SFIFF 2013 hints at a more understated outcome, but there are highlights:

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published: 01.28.2015
published: 01.28.2015
published: 01.28.2015
published: 01.27.2015

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