Tag Archives: French Movie

Film Review: CODA (2021)

CODA is an acronym for a ‘Child of Deaf Adult‘. That means an individual who was raised by one or two parents/guardians who were deaf. So this coming-of-age film is about Ruby Rossi (Emilia Jones) whose ambition is to become a singer. But the problem is the lifetime dependency of her deaf family who is reluctant to continue living their life on their own, without her support.

When I understood the plot, I realized I have watched an old film with a similar plot. It was none other than Sanjay Leela Bhansali‘s Khamoshi: The Musical. But Khamoshi’s story was also similar to a German film Jenseits der Stille that was actually released a few months after Khamoshi. So, was Khamoshi an original story? CODA itself is an official remake of French film La Famille Bélier.

So, for me, the story is ordinary. But CODA is all about the execution of the story that is blessed with an impressive screenplay and extraordinary performances by many major characters, especially Rubi’s father Frank played by Troy Kotsur. There are several scenes where the family’s deafness and sign language performance are done so well. And there are scenes that build a lot of attention for the audience like Ruby’s music teacher Mr. V (Eugenio Derbez) working hard on Ruby’s vocal cords, especially that pressing on little-dog-big-dog-exercise.

The beauty of CODA also is that the film grows on its audience. Note when the parents struggle to understand their daughter’s performance and observe the clapping and behavior of other listeners, or when Frank feels her neck when she sings, or when Ruby sings with sign language in the hall. Yes, the film is pretty slow but I think this subject in a coming-of-age film needed to be slow-paced.

CODA needs a quick visit to enjoy some astonishingly brilliant performances as deaf characters. A fabulous tone for coming-of-age needs a reminder to the audience that there are CODAs who face difficulties and get bullied, and they need help.

Ratings: 7.5/10

Film Review: Les Quatre Cents Coups (1959)

Les Quatre Cents Coups (The 400 Blows) is a genuine storyteller. An apology never heard never accepted. A dark sickening life insisting to walk away from everything.
A young lad Antoine Doinel is a confused puppet in Paris of the 1950s. His parents argue and fight, his teacher punishes and complains. He studies but he cannot make his mind. One day he is so disturbed that he quit home and school, and begins stealing.
This 1959 French film is directed by François Truffaut. The best aspect of the film is the tendency, the aptness, the realism of human behavior. The portrayal of characters and their character descriptions are extremely rich and marvelous (especially Antoine’s parents).
This easily is one of the best writings in European cinema due to the fact that ‘The 400 Blows’ was one of the earliest films of the French New Wave uprising. Legendary filmmakers like Akira Kurosawa and Satyajit Ray have considered the film as one of their favorites.
Another legacy is that Truffaut took the character Antoine Daniel with the same boy (Jean-Pierre Léaud) and made four more films on the character’s first love affair (Antoine et Colette in 1962), then another love affair (Baisers volés in 1968), then marriage (Domicile conjugal in 1970), and then separation (L’amour en fuite in 1979).
Highly recommended to all film critics and sensible filmgoers.
Ratings: 9.1/10

Film Review: Tirez Sur Le Pianiste (1960)


Charlie the piano player (Charles Aznavour) is down with his life. He lost his wife in a suicide attempt and now has brothers in trouble with the gangsters jeopardizing his own life and his new girlfriend, Lena (Marie Dubois).

Tirez sur le pianiste (Shoot the Piano Player) is a French film, also the second film in the direction of François Truffaut’s illustrious career. Based on David Goodis‘ novel ‘Down There’, it generally differs some points in the characterization of leading man Charlie. But overall it is a masterpiece.


The Film is mere 120 minutes of understanding Charlie to involve you. He is a forsaken individual whose omen calls him to wake his nature and express what he wills but he is always mixed in emotions. In short, he is a confused individual who thinks twice to touch Lena’s hand or hand her back.

Produced in 1960, the film is from the earliest phase of French New Wave, a celebrated dominating era of few decades in which the films became equivalent to art and literature in the state of free expressions and a break from conservative cinematic ideology.


Realism has a much contrast like I mentioned the hardship of Charlie to date, Lena. Then we have a very realistic conversation in gangsters’ vehicle when the subject keeps changing in seconds and never focus on Charlie’s brother. Later on, when Charlie fights, he makes sure the windows and ears of the cruel society have an ugly look. A heated exchange of words b/w Mr. and Mrs. Charlie gives another directional example of an unusual pragmatic scene. Truffaut often played his wild card on brilliant post-marital scenes like Bed and Board and The Soft Skin, which often reminds you works by Satyajit Ray and Mani Ratnam in South Asia.

Truffaut preferred open relations in his films which are another aspect of the new wave era. In many of his films, translation of emotions are wide, open and offers all crossings. Women are free to express her desire by emotions, dresses, and private parts. She is ready to accept relations at a time. Charlie’s girlfriend asks him to inform when he is done with her. This is the same case in other films like Jules and Jim, Two English Girls and even Antoine Doinel series.


Action sequences are the simplest and most realistic essence in the film. Charlie’s fight in the bar (mentioned above) and last 5 minutes of gangsters vs Charlie and brothers is impressive. 

Shoot the Piano Player is a combination of postwar Parisian noir and keen observation on humanist detail. If you don’t accept the film in the first attempt, you will definitely in the second.

Ratings: 8.3/10

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Film Review: La sirène du Mississipi (1969)

La sirène du Mississipi (Mississippi Mermaid) is François Truffaut’s romantic film based on Cornell Woolrich’s novel ‘Waltz Into Darkness‘. A French film with a romantic genre is icing on the cake but what I like about this film is the exaggeration of misunderstanding between the two.
Let me summarize you the first half of the plot in brief. A rich man Louis (Jean-Paul Belmondo) owns a tobacco plantation on Réunion island in the Indian Ocean and is about to get married to a girl Julie (Catherine Deneuve) to whom he has never met but has exchanged letters. He has her photograph, so he arrives at the port to receive her but he happens to meet the other girl claiming that she is Julie and the one in the picture is her sister.
Later on, they fall in love and get married. Louis gives her access to his bank accounts. One day he gets a letter from Julie’s sister complaining her absence and threatening to call the police. He informs Julie about the call and suggests to write and inform her sister asap. The other day, Louis comes to know that the lady he married was not Julie but an imposter who ran away absconding 28 million francs from his bank accounts.
Louise and Julie’s sister Berthe hires a detective to investigate the matter. Days later in the French city of Nice, his eyes catch Julie’s imposter who actually works as a dancer in a nightclub. He catches her but comes to know that the impostor whose name is Marion, actually is innocent and has none of his money. They restore their relationship and one day Louis happens to meet the hired detective in the same city who is here to find the imposter. Boooom!!! Where goes the money? How will Louise save Marion from the investigation? Where is Julie? You have to find all the answers in the other exciting half.
There are few goofs in the film. I see a sudden change of dresses in two different shots of the same lunch eaten by the couples. Then there is a scene when Louise is looking for a vehicle on one side of the road where his shelter is located. But Marion takes him to the shelter on the other side of the road lol.
There are some doubts in few scenes over flaws in Truffaut’s direction. I noticed the actors were not displaying shocking emotions on their faces where the scene really needed e.g., when Marion is caught by Louis in Nice after running away from home, there is zero expression on her face. I expect big eyeballs if she doesn’t bother to scream. Same case when Louis meets the detective which should carry a huge surprise on detective’s face.
Anyhow there are plusses more than the above-mentioned minuses. One of the best things about François Truffaut’s direction is that he keeps the viewers busy and make them anxiously wait for the next scene. The excitement grows with the passage of time. Also in this film like all of his other directional work, he gives importance to small elements attached with individual’s life which offers you realism of free state of expressions which has been the major focus in French New Wave films.
Now just take an example of the introductory credits. There is no music but the presentation of introductory credits is fixed with the background audio of different male and female suitors demanding their requirements. The voices begin mixing and is exaggerated. Two theories develop from this, one is conveying the message to the viewers that an admirer will be seeking a partner in crime in the beginning phase of film and the other is an ugly truth that the necessary wants of the suitors are ridiculously high.
In the opening scene, both soon-to-be-married confess the truth at their first meeting despite showing sincerity in exchanged letters. Then there is a 5-minute scene where Marion the impostor wakes up one late night with respiratory problems handled by the husband somehow which gives you some glimpse of marital life. Another interesting scene is in their wedding when Louis make failed attempt of wearing her a wedding ring showing the letters never went concern of asking her the size of her finger for wearing her a ring. How natural!
In such a serious romantic drama, there are bits of funny scenes like Marion calling a lady the name of Popeye‘s sweetheart, Olive Oyl, which she truly resemble her. Then there is Marion stripping in the middle of the street which makes one driver victim of a car accident that looks so real to laugh at.
Overall, it is a Louise and Marion show. Their confused relationship has a greedy suspense. Both are lost in emotions and would make the viewers grow their concerns over suiting and choosing a right lady with expectations of no misfortunes. Although the film does be based on a novel but still the amount 28m in any currency is an enormous figure to lose in one shot. The same film was remade 32 years later as Original Sin starring Antonio Banderas and Angelina Jolie.
Ratings: 7.8/10
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