Watched a 2001 French flick called Sur mes levres (Read My Lips) a couple of nights ago . . . . a very, very enjoyable, gripping movie, well acted and structured, compelling, kept me engaged for a full two hours, no mean feat. (I ascribe to John Waters’ theory of film length in general: no movie needs to be more than 90 minutes long).
There were definite overtones of Hitchcock in this one (and if you like him, you’ll probably like this) but Read My Lips had a far more continental flavor in cinematography and direction than Alfred’s slow-moving grippers did. It’s also a creature of its era: no shying away from the violence and lust that live in its main character’s hearts.
Looking at IMDB, I see that Read My Lips was nominated for 9 Cesar Awards (French Oscars) and won three of them (alas, it lost “Best Film” to the way, way over-rated Amelie . . . and that was truly an injustice)(however . . . Emmanuelle Devos of Read My Lips won the “Best Actress” Cesar over Audrey Tautou, which was good, although actually I think looking at the nominees, I’da given it to Isabelle Huppert of The Piano Teacher: as good as Devos was in Read My Lips, Huppert’s performance in The Piano Teacher was one of the greatest ever, in my mind)(and I didn’t mean to get off on a French flick tangent, but by golly 2001 seems to really have been a good year for French cinema, Amelie notwithstanding).
Anyway . . . Read My Lips is a very, very worthwhile DVD rental, if you’re looking for something that wasn’t an obvious big U.S. blockbuster deal.
Unrelated additional film note:
One of my students was talking about being a scary movie fan, and we had a good long talk about some of the finer points of the ooky craft. At his request, I’m loaning him my Eraserhead and Don’t Look Now DVD’s for the Thanksgiving break. I don’t think he realizes what he’s getting into. Heh heh heh.
If you haven’t seen those movies, they’re worth renting, too. Eraserhead is closest visual representation ever created of an actual nightmare unfolding, and Don’t Look Now is a slow-burner that wraps with one of the most frightening ending scenes I’ve ever experienced.