Desplechin’s underwhelming “Ismael’s Ghosts” opens up CANNES FILM FESTIVAL

A messy film
Charlotte Gainsbourg, Marion Cotillard and Mathieu Amalric
Directed by Arnaud Desplechins

I was disappointed that “Ismael’s Ghosts” hadn't turned out to be the near-perfect film that “My Golden Days,” which screened at the Cannes Festival last year, was. Arnaud Desplechin’s new film, which opened this year's festival (Cannes celebrates seventy this year) is sketchy and brutal, chaotic and annoyingly camp. On the good side the characters speak impressive, theatrical-like lines, like in ... more >


Courtroom drama with a side of Resnais
Mathieu Amalric and Léa Drucker
Directed by Mathieu Amalric

“La Chambre Bleue” (“The Blue Room” in the original French), the extremely-talented actor Mathieu Amalric’s directorial debut, screened on Friday. Based on a slim 1955 novel by police procedural author Georges Simenon, it relates, or rather reveals, its story in a tortuously piecemeal fashion. In the course of an interrogation, we are introduced to Julien (Amalric), his mistress (Stéphanie Cléau) ... more >

Jimmy P. (Psychotherapy of a Plains Indian)

Freudian therapy is alive and well
Mathieu Amalric and Benicio del Toro
Directed by Arnaud Desplechin

Right after World War II Jimmy Picard (Benicio Del Toro), a Blackfoot Indian who fought in France, is admitted to a military hospital in Topeka, Kansas. The institution is specialized in brain diseases and Jimmy Picard suffers from many problems : dizziness, temporary blindness, and hearing loss (a case of post-traumatic stress disorder?). In the absence of physiological causes, he’s given a ... more >