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The film is a whimsical, genuinely loving commentary on life.
by Kathryn Whitney Boole on Jun 15, 2015
sat down to view Gemma Bovery at the COLCOA French Film Festival sponsored by
Air Tahiti Nui recently, I anticipated the need to keep my concentration sharp through
a weighty French psychological exposition drama. I was pleasantly surprised. This film is beautifully made, with a story
that moves effortlessly across the screen, as does its star, Gemma
Arterton. The film is a whimsical,
genuinely loving commentary on life and the characters we meet (or those we
imagine we meet).We get
to know the players right away. The
location, an isolated country village in Normandy, becomes a colorful character
in itself. Cinematographer Christophe
Beaucarne does a great job of giving us a full view of the village and
countryside, letting us absorb the surroundings as if we are living there. The environment draws us into the story. Close-ups and long shots flow brilliantly
with the narrative.
Anne Fontaine says that she always asks herself this question of her
characters: “What are the things about themselves that they’re unaware of?” I
was not surprised to learn that this French director has a strong resume - and that she had studied ballet seriously
from the age of seven, as her film is beautifully choreographed. Editor Annette Dutertre does an amazing job
with each scene. Nothing is longer or
shorter than it needs to be. Emotions
are hinted at by subtle visual clues rather than played out or explained.
music by composer Bruno Coulais matches the style of the film – whimsical and
imaginative. The score is a perfect
highlight to the scenes, and memorable enough not to be relegated to background
music. Production designer Arnaud de
Moleron skillfully gives the characters rooms and houses that provide insight
into their personalities.
Luchini steals the show – even from mega-star Arterton, in his performance as
the Parisian city dweller transplanted to this isolated village. Here his vivid imagination and daydreams seem
to not simply mirror reality – they become reality. You don’t need to know the French language to
understand him. A superb actor, he
communicates in a realm outside of words.
is perfectly cast as the object of men’s dreams. She is sensuous yet approachable,
effortlessly filling her “stage” with every movement. Director Fonteyn said that she was originally
hesitant to cast Gemma – then, upon their first meeting, as soon as Gemma
walked into the room and said “Bonjour Anne”, she knew she had found her star –
again, no words necessary. Jason Flemyng
makes a wonderful long-suffering husband and Isabelle Candelier is perfect as
Luchini’s strong and grounded wife who accepts his flights into fancy and
brings him back to earth when needed.
Fonteyn and Pascal Bonitzer have done a brilliant job adapting Posy Simmonds’
novel to the screen. The theme of the
story, the importance of imagination in coloring our lives, is a perfect study
for the medium of film.
Kathryn Whitney Boole
was drawn into the entertainment industry as a kid and never left. It has been the backdrop for many awesome
adventures with crazy creative people.
She now works as a Talent Manager with Studio Talent Group in Santa
January 21, 2019