French Film Festival – Molière and Chrysalis

The next two movies on my program for the French Film Festival were Molière, a period comedy, and Chrysalis, an attempt at sci-fi noir.

I saw Molière with Kathi the theatre costumière and . The film was fabulous – very witty and full of Molière-like comic misunderstandings – exploring a portion of the writer's life before he hit the big time. From the little I know of Molière, I can see common motifs from his plays appearing as plot elements in the movie. For instance, when in disguise he calls himself – of course – M. Tartuffe. Kathi slowly dissolved into a puddle of jealousy geeking over the fabulous costumes and her gnawing desire to work on a big budget period drama. The best reaction to the film goes to who said “The film was advertised incorrectly. They should have said 'It's like Shakespeare In Love … but not shit'.” I've yet to decide, however, whether the frequent puns and other language games were intrinsically better in French than in the English subtitles because I had to work to understand them in the original. The movie has inspired me to find the plays by Molière in both English and French.

, and I suffered through Chrysalis straight after. Perhaps this shaped my opinion to the film. It's a thoroughly predictable 'We Can Remember It For You Wholesale' story with a couple of very, very good fight scenes. The characters were not so much flat as inaccessible. We saw nothing of them behind their surface appearances to explain why they acted the way they did. In the end when all is explained they make sense. It's just a pity we didn't see that during the story. All in all, I'd prefer to have seen this movie than not to have seen it. It was very pretty and careful and consistent set decoration made it appear to be in black and white even though it's filmed in colour. Again, they could have play with this idea more as well.

Overall, a mixed night but with such good company I can't imagine it being bettered.