Friday, August 20, 2010

Christophe Honoré's MAKING PLANS FOR LENA: the "entitlement" film of the year?

director Christophe Honoré's third film to use Chiara Mastroianni, but it comes nowhere near the level of his earlier Love Songs. I find myself running hot and luke-warm to the work of this filmmaker; his latest is definitely in the latter category. Beautifully filmed in what I gather is Brittany (see photo at bottom), the movie -- as well as the Lena character played by Mastroianni -- fairly reeks of entitlement.

After a time, it is extremely difficult to watch Lena in action without wanting to haul off and smack the woman. Her behavior toward everyone around her grows more appalling as the movie progresses.

Could Honoré (shown at left) and Mastroianni be unaware of this? Is their film some kind of feminist statement? Embarrassing, if true. Women -- feminism -- need better agitators and explicators than are found here. But maybe that's just movie folk for you: They tackle life from, shall we say, a somewhat privileged position and expect to be congratulated for their efforts.

On the plus side is a cast filled with fine French actors -- from Marina Foïs (pregnant, center right) to Jean-Marc Barr (below, left), Marcial di Fonzo Bo and especially Marie-Christine Barrault (as the family's overbearing but dedicated mom). What a pleasure to see this great old actress in a good role again! Even that Honoré staple Louis Garrel (shown two photos below, bussing Ms Mastroianni) makes a short appearance, proving himself sexy and watchable, as always.

It's odd how differently we all react to watching the same thing. Stephen Holden, in his NY Times review found the odd section that tells (and shows) a folk take -- about a local bride, the villagers and dancing -- an kind of interruption that brings the film to a dead halt. TrustMovies found it much more pleasurable, if not completely comprehensible. At least it took us away from the the ridiculous Lena -- a character Holden found more interesting and worthwhile than did I.

Fans of Chiara Mastroianni, Honoré and the rest of his fine ensemble will certainly want to see the film, as did I prior to this theatrical run when the movie made its American debut last March during the FSLC's Rendez-vous With French Cinema. You couldn't have kept me from it, so maybe my warning review should not keep you from it, either.

Making Plans for Lena opens via IFC Films today, at Manhattan's IFC Center; click here for showtimes, etc.  Interestingly enough, the movie began its IFC-On-Demand run a week ago.  If you prefer at-home viewing, cilick here to see if it's available in your neighborhood.

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