« I Killed My Mother »

I would like to speak about a great movie, entitled « I Killed My Mother ».

I Killed My Mother is a Quebec autobiographical film (a biopic) written and directed by Xavier Dolan, and released in 2009. Xavier Dolan is a young actor, director, screenwriter and Canadian producer and I Killed My Mother is his first movie. Through this film, Xavier Dolan expresses the conflicting relationship he had with his mother. The film is autobiographical in the sense that the young Quebec uses the cinema, so a fiction, to address a malaise that he really lived and felt in his youth. Indeed, in this film, Hubert Minel (played by Xavier Dolan himself), a young teenager, lives alone with his mother Chantal, and throughout the film, he shows us the degradation of their relationship. This film is a testimony to the relationships that can exist between a mother and her son, and Xavier Dolan is trying to convey a message to his mother. In fact, he tries to express his desire to reconnect with her, resolve conflicts between them. During the film, we realize that this is unfortunately impossible since there is a real gap between them, they are too different. Several shots show Hubert shooting himself and expressing the hatred he feels for his mother and she finds the video and realizes the large amount of conflicting feelings her son can feel for her. We can suggest that the purpose of the film is the same: to show to his mother all he could feel as teenager. This film is very interesting since the director clearly gives his personal vision of the relationship he had with his mother and he told us about his personal experiences during his adolescence (boarding school, homosexuality, etc).

I think this film corresponds to the notion studied because one can say that Xavier Dolan uses the movie theater as a tribune to convey ideas and a retrospective of his life. Through this film, he gives us a part of his private life (as it could have done in a diary). Enjoy !

The Iron Lady

The Iron Lady

The Iron Lady is a British-French biopic directed by Phyllida Lloyd dedicated to Margaret Thatcher and released in the United Kingdom on 16 December 2011.

Throughout the film, we have Margaret Thatcher’s point of view. With Alzheimer’s disease, she is confused and remembers moments of her life. There is a cross editing between the present, where she is eighty years old and memories from her youth to her resignation as Prime Minister. This film is interesting because it gives us a different perspective on it, enough staff, which allows us to approach this controversial figure in a more human way and understand why one gives her the nickname Iron Lady (symbol of firmness). However, this film also enables us to know her intimate life and not stop at the image she gave as Prime Minister. Through her point of view, we understand the nature of her struggle: the daughter of a grocer (from a popular middle), she fought all her life to climb the social ladder and engage in politics. She is the only woman on the head of the Conservative Party and who has been Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, making it the longest uninterrupted term. The film reveals the origin of her conservative convictions, which came in part from her father. Margaret Thatcher is often represented as an authoritarian political figure, which doesn’t take into account public opinion, whereas this film presents this woman as a mother, wife, having weaknesses. For example, we can notice that she may be too ambitious and she was not really present for her children and her hustband. Finally, early in the film, we see a book she signs, which is her autobiography.

It would be interesting to compare her vision of her career in her autobiography with the vision offered by this film. I suggest you to watch it!

 

« Walk 1700 kilometers in three months »

« Wild » is an American drama film directed by Jean-Marc Vallée, and released in 2014. This is an adaptation of the story of the same name, written by Cheryl Strayed.

After the death of her mother (Laura Dern) and a divorce she didn’t want, the main character, Cheryl Strayed, decided to give herself a challenge: travel 1700 kilometers in three months, alone, on the Pacific Crest Trail, that is to say a hiking linking Mexico to Canada. The idea is to be face with herself to learn how to control his fears, his limits, his past and the ghosts that accompany her. She was addicted to alcohol and hard drugs .. This film is perfectly suited to the concept of initiatory journey because this woman is trying to rebuild herself and decides to make a long hike on the West Coast of the United States. Adventure is challenging: she walks under unbearable heat, in the rain, through a snowy area, crosses rivers, etc.

The landscape through which she passes, are those of Nevada, California, Oregon and Washington. They are very beautiful, really impressive and look like those that can be seen in « Into the Wild » directed by Sean Penn. They are breathtaking too and give constantly the desire to learn more about this famous « Pacific Crest Trail » that 300 people from around the world are trying to make ends every year!

Moby Dick

« Moby Dick or The Whale » is a novel written by Herman Melville, an american writer, and published in 1851. The title refers to the nickname given to a huge white whale at the center of the story. The novel was first published in London in October as « The Whale », but this edition was incomplete and the title was not the one desired by Melville, who has also been a sailor (hence the subject of his novel and the fact that many passages are devoted to describing the technique of whaling). Soon after, the book became known as « Moby-Dick or The Whale ». Moby-Dick is now considered one of the most important novel in English literature.

Moby Dick can be considered an escape and adventure story because, attracted by the sea, Ishmael, the narrator decides to go to whaling. Indeed, the story takes place in the 1840s. With the economic potential of this highly valued resource, people decide to go hunt whales at sea. We find in the whaling taste of conquest and of exploration. Ishmael embarks on the Pequod, whaling ship, commanded by the captain Achab. Ishmael realizes that the ship’s crew doesn’t hunt only to supply the market of the whale. Achad seeks Moby Dick, a white whale particularly fierce and with an impressive size, not just for the fame he could draw, but because he wants revenge for the animal, which snatched him a leg in the past. The Pequod will sink into the sea and the survivor will be Ishmael. Melville explores many complex topics, when Ishmael asked about his beliefs and his place in the universe, through his journey. One can draw moral of this story because captain’quest for revenge will lead him to death. Moreover, even though at the time, the issue of the preservation of species doesn’t arise, Melville already raises the question of the consequences of intensive hunting of cetaceans.

In 2015 is planned an adaptation of the story in a movie called « In The Heart Of The Sea », with the actor Chris Hemsworth.

A great voyage story !

 

Jean-Georges Vibert, Gulliver and the Lilliputians (around 1870)

I want to talk about Gulliver’s Travels. It’s a novel written by Jonathan Swift, and published in 1726. It’s a classic of English Literature. I think most of you know this story but I really liked this story when I was younger. I’m sure this picture reminds you something ! Gulliver’s Travels appears for the first time in French under the title of Voyages du capitaine Lemuel Gulliver. Through this fiction, Jonathan Swift makes a satire of the society of his time. In fact, in this novel, he makes fun of the English society in which he belonged. This nivel, written in the firt person, is divided into four parts. In fact, there are as many parts as Gulliver’s travels. My favorite of them is the Journey to Lilliput, and I think it’s also the most famous.

Lemuel Gulliver is a naval surgeon. After a shipwreck, he finds himself on the island of Lilliput. He is chained and driven in this state further on the island. He discovers the inhabitants of the island, the Lilliputians who are tiny creatures. On Lilliput’s island, the reader discovers a much more advanced society than England at Swift’s time. However, there is a war between the Lilliputians and the inhabitants of the neighboring island, Blefuscu. The reason of this war is absurd : the king of Blefuscu’s island wants to impose the side they must break a boiled egg. This passage is fun and denounces the absurdity of war. In his second travel, Gulliver is faced with the opposite situation: people of Brobdingnag are giants. Because of his small size, Gulliver becomes an object of curiosity for the king, the queen and the court. The last two Gulliver’s travels are not really known.

Gulliver, a brave explorer, discovers on the occasion of his maritime expeditions, strange and fascinating people. Swift talks about the problems of the society of his time, symbolically, through the various characters who appear throughout the story, and through situations where he places his hero, Gulliver. Whenever Gulliver returned to England, is to leave the country as soon as possible and go sailing on the seas.

Gulliver’s Travels refer to imagination and dreams through descritpions of imaginary countries. That’s why they are often read to children as real fairy tales. This story continues to fascinate and seduce readers. There are many adaptations of this novel (cinema, theater, comics…).

Giu-Pin illustrated a comic based on Gulliver’s travels but he has also illustrated a version of Robinson Crusoe, another voyage story, written by Daniel Defoe.

Robinson crusoë. illustré par giu-pin

 

 

The Untouchables

We talked about the Prohibition in classroom through « The Great Gatsby » (1925) by F. Scott Fitzgerald. I am going to talk about another movie about the Prohibition : The Untouchables.

The Untouchables is an American thriller, directed by Brian De Palma and released in 1987. At the beginning of the 1930s, it was the time of the Prohibition in Chicago. It was forbidden to make, drink or sell alcohol. Some people made and sold alcohol illegally : there were bootleggers. There was a kind of « gang war ». Al Capone, played by Robert De Niro, was very famous at that time. He controls the traffic and sale of alcohol. But a famous policeman, Eliott Ness (played by Kevin Costner), recruits three trustworthy men, untouchables, in order to clean Chicago of crimes. So Eliott Ness’ team was called the Untouchables. The Untouchables really existed as the characters of Al Capone and Frank Nitti. But several characters were invented (for example Jim Malone or Giuseppe Stone). Thanks to the Eliott Ness’ memories, the director was able to transcribe, in his script, Al Capone’s stalking, hunting. The famous Untouchables of Chicago were actually eleven and not four like in the movie. Al Capone’s trial was in 1931. He was sentenced to seventeen years in prison, including eleven years fixed.

 

 

 

 

Seven Pounds, a great movie !

 

Seven Pounds is an american movie, directed by Gabriele Muccino (and released in 2008).

The main character is a man, Ben Thomas (played by Wil Smith) who has a terrible secret and wants to help people and change their lifes to find his redemption. He will do everything to achieve his goal. At the beginning, the intentions of this mysterious character are uncleared, we don’t necessarily understand his motivations, is to say, what is his secret. But gradually as the story progresses, we discover the character’s past through flashbacks and we bind this man. The story of the character is very touching : I got goosebumps at times and at the end, I almost cried ! I thought Will Smith was perfect for this role. Really, feel free to watch this movie, it is really good !

 

Taxi Driver

 

We talked about Taxi Driver in class but I had never seen this movie before. And because I’m curious, I looked this movie of 1976. Taxi Driver is an american movie written by Paul Schrader and directed by Martin Scorsese. I learned that Paul Schrader wrote the script in five days and the story is somewhat autobiographical. In this film, we can see Robert De Niro in the role of a young Vietnam’s veteran, who becomes a taxi driver. This man, Travis Bickle, faces to loneliness and violence of the nights in New York. He develops a kind of obsession for guns. In fact, in 1976, New-York is one of the cities with the highest crime rate in the world. I liked this movie because I think it really shows the psychological consequences of the Vietnam War on American soldiers. I liked the music of the film because I think soft and slow jazz, composed by Bernard Herrmann, perfectly reflects the bitterness of the character. Moreover, this movie is considered a cultural and historical masterpiece so it is preserved at the Library of USA Congress.

I advise you to watch this film with the famous sentence of Robert De Niro in front of his mirror « You’re talkin’ to me? » !!

 

American History X

American History X

Derek (Edouard Norton) and his brother Danny (Edouard Furlong) live and study in California. Derek join a neo-nazi skinhead movement to avenge his father’s death. In fact, his father, who was fireman, was killed by a black dealer while he tried to extinguish a fire in a ghetto. One night, Derek kills two black men, who tried to steal the car of his dead father. After three years in prison for the murders, Derek is released and transformed but he finds Danny, influenced by his old racist ideologies. Derek will try to prevent him from following the same way as him.

 The alternating of black and white to evoke Derek’s memories gives depth to the subject. This first film directed by Tony Kaye deals with important themes. I loved this movie that explains the origin of racism and extremism in the United States (through the story of an American family). 

Invictus

      INVICTUS

 « I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul »
 (extract from William Ernest Henley’s poem « Invictus », 1888)

The film Invictus was directed by Clint Eastwood, in 2009. We can find two well-known actors who play the main characters : Matt Damon (the Springbok’s captain called François Pienaar), and Morgan Freeman (the South African President, Nelson Mandela).

South Africa host the Rugby World Cup, in 1995. At the beginning of his term as president, Nelson Mandela see in this sporting event, the opportunity to unite his contry. In fact, the Springbok’s team (the national rugby team) was a symbol of the white rule in South Africa and also a symbol of the apartheid regime (that is the segregation between the Whites and the Blacks in South Africa). The two leaders, Mandela and Pienaar, aim to unite the « rainbow nation » (with racial groups) behind a common goal : the championship.

I think the project of unite this country behind the Rugby World Cup was one of the biggest challenges for South Africa. This film is very interesting and the two main actors have a lot of talent. They are credible and very moving. I think that Morgan Freeman is admirable in the part of Nelson Mandela and this film is very realistic because of the amazing ressemblance Morgan Freeman with Nelson Mandela.

I really like this film and I would advise you to see it !

The Little Prince : the film adaptation

It’s official ! Paramount Pictures advertised the release on the big screen « The Little Prince« , adapted from the novel by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry.

The director Mark Osborne (who directed also « Kung Fu Panda », « Spongebob ») provided the release in France, in late 2015. This film adaptation of the book by Saint-Exupéry is the first, seventy years after his publication. The Little Prince will be the voices of James Franco, Marion Cotillard, Rachel McAdams and Jeff Bridges.

In my opinion, I have some doubts about the result but I think it’s a very interesting project. This film, like the book, will probably rich and full of fantastic adventures !

Nonsense

The Adventures of Alice in Wonderland, often abbreviated as Alice in Wonderland , by Lewis Carroll, have a sequel entitled Through the Looking-Glass.

Like Alice in Wonderland, Through the Looking-Glass is a pure dream narrative, at least a fantastic story which has a dreamlike atmosphere.

Others authors before him had mixed in their works the imaginary and the real, but Lewis Carroll has the merit of having created an original mixture of onirism and logic.

In fact, the Nonsense is a genre that Lewis Carroll manipulates with genius. The nonsense pretends to give hope the reader a logical explanation and then treacherously wong habits of throught. Film adaptations, such as Tim Burton for example, often combine elements of both books (Alice in Wonderand and Through the Looking-Glass).

Today, Carroll ‘s book remains popular among both children and adults.

The American writer Martin Gardner published The Annotated Alice (not translated in French), which includes Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass, along with Victorian poems that Lewis Carroll parodied.

Tim Burton’s adaptation

Alice in Wonderland is a film directed by Tim Burton and written by Linda Woolverton (from the novel by Lewis Carroll) for Walt Disney Pictures, with Johnny Depp. The film was released in the United States in 2010. After the adaptation in full-length animated Alice in the Wonderland dated 1951, the studio commissioned Tim Burton to direct a new adaptation of Lewis Carroll’s novels, entitled The Adventures of Alice in the Wonderland (1865) and On the other side of the mirror (1871). This is a fantastic animated film.

Alice Kingsley is a girl who is nineteen years old. She has a boundless imagintation which attracts her a lot of trouble. Her father’s death affected her so she became quite cold and sarcastic. An afternoon, Alice is sought in marriage by Hamish Ascot, an arrogant Lord and very little seductive. At this moment, Alice see a strange white rabbit that has a pocket watch. She follows him. Alice runs away. She said that this marriage arrives a little too quickly. She arrives in front of a curious dead trunk tree. Alice falls in a rabbit hole, in darkness. She arrives in a world opposite of his own : the Wonderland. She will meet a cast of strange characters (the famous White Rabbit, the Cheshire Cat, the March Hare, the Dormouse, the twins Tweedle-Dum and Tweedle-Dee and in particular, the Mad Hatter whose real name is Tarrant Hightopp) and find themselves confronted the paradox, absurdity and strange… Alice doesn’t know what happened to Wonderland. She learns that the Red Queen with his Valet red, took power by releasing the Jabberwocky, a frightening monster. Alice will have to ally with the crazy Mad Hatter and the White Queen in order to get rid of the tyranny of the Red Queen and restore justice and peace.

In my opinion, this adaption is the better because of her special effetcs for example. This film directed by Tim Burton uses a combinaison of actual shooting and the animation technique. The result is surprising and amazing !

 

 

Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, by Stevenson

I am interested in gothic literature it’s why I enjoy Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. Stevenson create a weird atmosphere, suspensful, and insert feelings of anxiety. We are eager, we are impatient to see Dr Jekyll’s new appearance, so Mr Hyde. I have liked comparate two film versions of this story that I didn’t know before. I appreciate this original story and her mysterious atmosphere..