Archives for posts with tag: Audrey Tautou

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Stephen Frears offers more than a typical thriller and more than a typical survival story. Frears offers an invisible and anonymous London hiding away from mainstream society. The film stars Chiwetel Ejiofor as Okwe, an illegal immigrant from Nigeria with a dark past. He drives a minicab by day and works all night at a hotel, chewing on the Khat herb in order to stay awake. He rents a couch from Senay (Audrey Tautou), a Turkish Muslim who fled an arranged marriage. They both work at a hotel where they eventually realise not everything is as it seems. The film is very compelling, the narrative is something so current and factual and yet it feels very hidden. Many of the locations for example such as the cafe Okwe purchases Khat, Senay’s apartment and so on are unrecognisable and illustrates the desperation that illegal immigrants have to be hidden. Chris Menges as cinematographer offers a very bleak and dark film in terms of the setting. However, some scenes feel bright and more natural such as the hotel scenes which could emphasise how the immigrants are now being exposed to society. Dirty Pretty Things really portrayed the lives of immigrants very well, Frears clearly presents the fear that is always around them such as immigration officials pestering these hard working people who are desperate to survive. 

Ejiofor offers a brilliant performance, I can’t praise him enough for a stunning portrayal of a brave, charing and traumatised man. Okwe is such an interesting character who’s desperate to be a morally correct citizen all whilst remaining silent in his activities. Tautou also provides a fantastic performance as Senay. Both characters are thrusted into a dark underworld of deceit and exploitation which I can’t reveal but it’s shocking and despicable and made me feel deep sympathy with immigrants who get involved in dangerous surroundings. There isn’t much more to say about this film (I really don’t wanna spoil it!), other than it’s such a gripping film on the hardships of invisible people. Hats off to Frears!

4/5

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“It’s better to help people than garden gnomes.”

Jean-Pierre Jeunet, known for his surrealistic and melancholic films such as Delicatessen and The City of Lost Children returns with a very beautiful and humorous rom-com on nostalgia, childhood and love. Amélie concerns the title character portrayed stunningly by Audrey Tautou, a young women working in Paris who was isolated as a child due to overprotective parents. She decides to help people in various ways whilst failing in love at the same time.

Visually, the film is astonishingly pretty. I was very struck by how Jeunet’s use of colour was prominent throughout the entire film that it really reminded of the films of Wes Anderson and Paul Thomas Anderson (especially PTA’s Punch Drunk Love and its use of red, blue and white).  Amélie is infused throughout with red, green and yellow thus giving it a very pleasant appearance. I felt that red and green reflected on Amélie’s character because they appear in the majority of shots featuring her. Red symbolises her character considering most of her apartment is painted red and she also wears red throughout the film. I was more mesmerised by Jeunet’s use of green and felt it reflected the journey that Amélie must undergo throughout the film. His use of yellow gives Amélie’s world a very beautiful, dreamy appearance; making it appear older and all the more pretty.

For my money, I’d say Amélie is one of the best examples of French cinema I’ve seen in a while. Throughout the film, André Dussollier as the narrator mentions the journeys of many of the characters and the things they love and hate such as her parents and the connections in their lives. The cinematography by Bruno Delbonnel is also pleasing, employing frequent use of tracking shots and wide angles which in turn emphasise the colourful beauty of Paris. Audrey Tautou offers a very beautiful and funny performance as someone who may be unusual (such as imagining watching her funeral on TV due to loneliness) but still wants to enlighten her world as a heroine. Guillaume Laurant as the screenwriter offers a delightful take on romance and the awkwardness of finding love whilst the humour throughout is very refreshing.

Jean-Pierre Jeunet offers overall a very picturesque and hilarious film on the development of love and how the past affects the future. Lovely, interesting and endearing, I’ll definitely recommend this to anyone wanting a change from typical rom-coms. Amélie is a perfect example of cinema that’s feels so different and yet so engaging!

5/5