As it happens, I knew nothing at all about SERAPHINE prior to seeing this remarkable film that just yesterday walked away with seven of the nine César awards for which it had been nominated: Best Picture, Actress, Screenplay, Costumes, Score, Photography and Décor. I do not read the Rendez-vous with French Cinema press notes, nor even the FSLC's program notes, before I watch the film at hand. (I do check the running time to make sure my schedule fits, but that's it.) Because I know in advance that I am going to see all the films in the fest, it's a lot more fun to simply take my seat, ingest a coffee fix to ensure alertness, and then just watch and listen.
As impractical as this route would be for most people, I wish you all could experience a film in this way occasionally, because arriving as a kind of tabula rasa enables you to dispense somewhat with prejudice and perceived opinion and makes the occasion much more of an adventure -- which Séraphine certainly proved to be. I did not know that the title character had indeed lived as a noted "outsider" artist in early 20th Century France, but this in no way impacted my enjoyment and understanding of the film. Fictional character or real, this Séraphine came to enormous life via the great talent of leading actress Yolande Moreau (When the Sea Rises) and the writer/director Martin Provost.
Music Box Films, which smartly picked up the movie that became the year's most popular foreign language film, Tell No One, will distribute Séraphine in the US. So don't despair if the Rendez-vous screenings are sold out: at the Walter Reade on Friday, March 6, at 8:45, and Sunday, March 8, at 12:30 and at the IFC Center on Saturday, March 7, at 4.
|Cinema Guild, that earlier this year gave us Ellen Kuras' wonderful The Betrayal: Nerhakhoon will be releasing The Beaches of Agnes in the US. During Rendez-vous, you can catch it, should seats remain, at the Walter Reade on Saturday, March 7, at 1:30 and Monday, March 9, at 8:45.|