Delicacy (Audrey Tautou) – Love Not At First Sight

In the opening scene, you see the back of a French actress walking down the street of Paris.  The camera stays with her and you wonder, where is she going?  Since you can’t see her face, you further wonder, who is she?  The way she walks seems familiar to you.  You may even recognize her back, her short hair, the back of her ears, and perhaps her rather petite outlook.  Suddenly you gasp, she must be Audrey Tautou!  Seldom have we seen actresses who exude such aura that is instantly recognizable.  Our friend TK recognized the actress before the camera revealed her identity.  He had no idea what movie we have chosen for him.

Delicacy has a slow moving plot.  The overall story is not what I would call entertaining.  It is about coping with losses and starting anew.  Because there is so much realism within, you ought to be someone who appreciates acting in order to enjoy this movie.  If you do, Delicacy is delicious.  Tautou is a talented actress.  We have seen her taking on different types of roles throughout her career.  This time, as a widower, she buries herself in work shutting away from most social interactions.  Can she fall in love again?  As audience, we get to witness how love not at first sight works.  Her counterpart played by François Damiens is worth a mention.  Damiens looks utterly ordinary, awkward in every little move.  He is even balding. And his character Markus has a huge crash on Nathalie played by Tautou.  The way he looks at her, the way he behaves when she is nearby, and the way he spaces out when she is not around – all these moments accentuate how awkward the relationship development is.  But the beauty is that it feels so natural looking at how the two interact and drown in this intolerable awkwardness.  It feels so real.

The soundtrack performed by Emilie Simon is also worth a mention.  The music is dreamy and moody.  It suits the plot well.  Emilie is a French singer who plays electronic music.  If you have a chance to check out her music, I would recommend you to do so.  Her music can be found in SingTel AMPed, arguably the world’s worst designed Android app.  Alternatively, you may check out her official YouTube channel.

Delicacy does not have a thought provoking open ending like many European movies do.  However, it does have a flavor to it.  Perhaps, what the filmmakers want to tell us is that to help someone in overcoming the pain of losses hidden inside, one must relive her past, understand it, only then there is hope to moving on.  On a side note, I think the title is appropriate in every way to describe the movie, especially Tautou’s character.

A French Movie “Beautiful Lies” Starring Audrey Tautou

Oh yes.  I absolutely adore Audrey Tautou.  Has it been two years since she graced our local theaters?  It certainly seems so.  One time, I met one of my readers in person, all because of Audrey Tautou.  He is a fan of Audrey; I am a fan; our movie buddy TK is a fan; and Cynthia is sort of a fan by influence, not quite by choice.  We watched “Coco Before Chanel” together – my very own meet-the-reader session.  Around the same time, I brought him to buy a dSLR because he happened to like photography too.  I have not seen him since then.  Hey buddy.  If you are reading this, drop everything you do and watch “Beautiful Lies”.  It is beautiful.  And Audrey Tautou is in it.

It is a pity that some local viewers remember Audrey as Sophie Neveu in “The Da Vinci Code”.  She is so much more.  In “Beautiful Lies”, she plays a character who seems to have little in common with her separated parents.  She is manipulative, but yet deep inside, she loves them.  She is the co-owner of a new salon.  She seems cold, bossing people around.  But from within, she can be inferiority complex, especially with someone who may have a much higher education than hers.  Romance does not seem to be on her priority list.  She does not seem to be aware of any admirers around her.  But yet, her heart can be touched in the most subtle way.  And it reacts too in the same subtle manner.  She lies, with good intent.  And yet, most lies backfire.  Summing all up, I would say Audrey Tautou is perfect for the role.

“Beautiful Lies” is a lighthearted movie.  Cynthia and I had a good laugh throughout the show.  I like this one a lot.  Retailers should package all the Audrey Blu-ray movies in one box.  I would gladly grab one.

Coco Before Chanel – Those Deep Black Eyes That Say More Than Words

Audrey Tautou's New Film Coco

I knew I shouldn’t trust The Straits Times’s review, especially one written by Ong Sor Fern.  She is still writing reviews for our local paper, after all these years.  Amazing (in a not so good way).  I haven’t read her review prior to watching the movie.  Cynthia did and has decided to give “Coco Before Chanel (Coco Avant Chanel)” a skip.  One of my long time reader whom I have met once to help him choosing a Nikon camera contacted me if we wished to go for a Audrey Tautou movie outing.  I warned him of The Straits Times’s review.  He said he does not trust what some of the reviews say.  Neither does my buddy Mr. TK.

So, three men headed to Plaza Singapura and watched “Coco Before Chanel”.  It was a man’s day out.  We shared dessert, popcorn, and drinks, soaked in a shopping mall that was so full smoking hot girls in sexy outfits.  Some I would marginally classify as lingerie.  But I am not complaining.

Neither do I complain about Audrey Tautou’s new film “Coco Before Chanel”.  I was holding my breath throughout the movie, to watch patiently on how the story unfolds for such a French iconic figure.  I have deep admiration to the key person behind the Chanel empire.  The pioneer and epitome of French fashion for women.  I have lived in Paris and to those who have experienced what living in this city of romance is like, you would agree with me that French fashion is very much living and breathing amongst the French.

“Coco Before Chanel” tells a story of the young Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel, her struggle and determination for money and fame, her love affairs, and from the development of her fashion philosophy to what appears as the initial launch of her fashion line-up – the initial years of Gabrielle Chanel so as to speak.  I appreciate the artistic freedom poured into this particular segment of Chanel’s life that is perhaps less documented compares to her later years.

Audrey Tautou is a great actress and Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel is a demanding role for her.  In the film, she needs to stand out as a woman ahead of her time, think differently from how the men and women of her time perceived fashion to be.  With her character’s background as an orphan, there is a certain emphasis on the theme of getting abandoned – as a child, as a sibling, and as a lover – that gives her an unique sense of solitude but yet, not too much on being vulnerable.  To be Chanel, she needs to put on a convincing act as a tailor, to handle clothes and accessories.  There is a wide spectrum of emotion for her to act.  That hunger for success, that determination, that pragmatism towards a love relationship, the constant distaste of female fashion of her time, the mood swing, and the joy and pain of love.  Audrey Tautou handles them well.  Those deep black eyes, that say it all.

I find the love relationship between Chanel and the more matured French playboy and millionaire Étienne Balsan (acted by Benoît Poelvoorde) playful, with witty and lively dialogues.  I find the love relationship between Chanel and the charming England businessman Arthur Capel (acted by Alessandro Nivola) intense, and heart wrenching.  I especially enjoy watching the pieces of fashion created by Chanel as the story develops.  Certainly not some works of fashion we can relate today.  Nevertheless, it is the philosophy behind the fashion that we should be focusing onto.

To me, “Coco Before Chanel” is one of the most memorable works by Audrey Tautou.  It is still an art movie and you have got to have the patience to appreciate the art within.  One couple near us appeared in constant torture by the slowness of the movie resorted to twisting and turning on their seats, talking to each other, and playing with their wireless phones.  I felt sorry for them.  One scene towards the end, Audrey Tautou was looking at her models attentively, and those eyes of seriousness then changed into longing with a tint of emptiness.  And the emptiness expanded answered by the flashbacks in her head.  As soon as she returned to reality looking at what she has achieved, there was a sign of peace and contentment.  Did she dedicate her success to someone she loved (I think so)?  At last, she looked into the audience (us) and smiled.  The image turned timeless.  All the above scenes are communicated without words.  Just expression from her eyes, the music and the change in scenes, in one fluid motion.  To some, that may be boring.  But to me, that is hauntingly beautiful.

Personally, I have this wish that as Audrey Tauto grows older, she will revisit the life of Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel again and act out the later stage of Chanel’s life.  That would be something really to look forward to.

PS-1. As a little gossip to those who have watched the film.  In case if you have not read, Audrey Tauto has started dating Benoît Poelvoorde whom she met from the set.

PS-2. I have been to the French coastal city Deauville as mentioned in the film.  Although I was alone at that time, I enjoyed visiting Deauville immensely.  It was beautiful.  Still is, I reckon.

Priceless – Fans Of Audrey Tautou Rejoice!

I am a huge fan of the French actress Audrey Tautou, ain’t no shame in it. Captivated by her award-winning French film “Amélie”, I try to follow her career in as much as I can. Like “The Spanish Apartment” and its follow-up “The Russian Dolls” as one of the characters in a romance drama between a group of friends with different nationalities, like “Pretty Dirty Things” as a lowly paid Turkish Muslim girl who works under a sexually predatory boss – one of the characters that portray what some of these immigrants have to live through, and like “A Very Long Engagement” – a romance drama that is dated back to World War I where imagination can become reality, worldwide viewers are mesmerized by not only her characteristic big eyes but also her fine acting. If you still don’t know who I am talking about, perhaps you may wish to recall the main actress played in “Da Vinci Code”. Yes, it was her – one of the French iconic figures known to the world.

I like “Priceless” because it is good to see Audrey Tautou finally took up a more “normal” role and have showed the world how mature, sexy, and seductive she can be – a side that I don’t recall seeing often on screen. “Priceless” is a romance comedy of a girl who preys on rich men for their money and a man who pretends to be one only to find out that this plan of his is not sustainable. You may call this a chick-flick but I have not seen one with so much acting in it. I am not sure how the female audience reacts but it is certainly a feast to my eyes to see Audrey Tautou dressed in top French branded fashion – from head to toe.

You may wish to watch the trailer from the film website though I feel that they have given out too much of the plot. Only take a look if you don’t mind the spoilers. Click here to access the film website.

A Very Long Engagement – A Show Worth Watching

Yet another film played by the famous French actress Audrey Tautou. I have heard mixed reviews on this very long show (134 minutes). Although reviewers from Singapore’s newspaper gave this show a 4-star, who take their opinions seriously anyway?

A show about a girl, Mathilde, who went into great length in investigating her fiance Manech’s whereabouts. Manech has gone missing during a World War I episode. In doing so, she has uncovered the stories of couple of others that intertwined with Manech’s. Is this a romantic show? I guess it is more than a mystery genre to me. Did I enjoy it? Personally, very much so. And by the way, Jodie Foster was playing in the show speaking French. Came as a surprise to me.