Thursday 30 October 2008

Il y a longtemps que je t'aime

My cinema going, once fairly obsessional, has ground almost to a halt, with the growing realisation that 'losing myself', being emotionally manipulated to identify in the particularly powerful way that film invokes, no longer appeals to me all that much. The few films I do see are usually French - their focused, small-scale, highly crafted articulacy still does it for me sometimes.

Il y a longtemps que je t'aime / I've Loved You So Long
is a wonderfully satisfying example of this kind of film-making, with Kristin Scott Thomas in the performance of her life, quietly, often silently, spellbinding in almost every scene. Receiving the performance through the vehicle of her French, which sounds like mine - pretty convincing, but a few ineradicable English vowels - made it particularly touching, I think. She haunted my dreams the night I saw it, and will for a while.

Here's an informative review and a trailer from The Guardian. And another good review from John Baker - I don't agree with John (I often do agree with him) about the ending as a weakness: I think catharsis and redemption, not realism, are the intent, and the film worked well for me on that level.


litlove said...

I feel the same way you do about cinema and French cinema and you pinpoint the difference perfectly. This is one of the few films I might actually watch, now that I've read your review of it.

Anonymous said...

Same here - I have preferred "little" and "relatively slow" films for a long time. You probably know "Amelie" already, if not, it is a treat that works well as a take-home video with some friends.

PS. Thanks also for your Camino blog especially those pics. It reminded me vividly of my own unfinished Camino (Easter 2006, starting in Somport) which only lasted three days due to my companion getting foot-sick. Still it is ingrained in my mind, the Spanish sun, remote and quiet villages, one foot in front of the other, companions on the way. And the silly shell dangling on the rucksack, of course. And a feeling of happiness through being liberated from the normal self in this "walking" rather than "sitting" retreat.

Leon's current assignment said...

Quiet movies of great human depth have long been a personal source of comfort, validation, learning and transformation. I am not a fan of French cinema, per se, but I read your recommendation and the accompanying link and am enticed. It sounds wonderful.

Thank you for this.

Lucy said...

I have quite mixed feelings about KST, but this looks rather fascinating, I'm ashamed to say I knoew nothing about it. I admire her refusal to be swallowed up and Hollywoodised, I think, and her holding to her adoptive Frenchness is a strong part of that. I think perhaps I don't much like the parts she plays, and I once knew her godmother's daughter, who said she found it hard to watch her because she always seemed to be playing herself, which stuck in my mind.

But I loved her account (on Desert Island Discs I think!) of driving through Normandy late at night with her husband when they were first together to visit his grandmother and listening to Miles Davies...