Loïc Corbery, above, as the son) and report on his doings. Those doings appear alternately dastardly and delightful, but then, there are surprises aplenty in store. Hearing this 17th Century dialog set against up-to-the-minute visuals takes only a few lines to get used to, and Amalric keeps things zipping along in fine style, while his cast -- including the always interesting Denis Podalydès as a delusional nutcase -- is first-rate. How Amalric takes the original story and dialog, mashes them it into today's sullied life-style and makes them work, via choice after choice that resound remarkably well, is something to see. I am sure he must have cut down the original source by, what, half or more? And his movie -- made for French TV (can you, in your wildest dreams, imagine something like this on American TV?) -- lasts only 77 minutes. But it's time well-spent: equally enjoyable and educational. More, please. The Screen Illusion screens Sunday, March 4, at 6:15 pm at the Walter Reade; Sunday, March 4, at 9pm at BAM; Monday, March 5, at 8 pm at IFC Center and Tuesday, March 6, at 4pm, again at the Walter Reade. M. Amalric will appear in person at the first three of the four screenings.
Jacques Demy (with his Model Shop), Erick Zonca (with Julia) and now Demy's own son, Mathieu Demy, fall prey to --what is it? -- the come-to-LA-LA-land-and-lose-your-marbles syndrome. Then move on to Mexico and go completely bonkers (Demy père managed to stay in L.A., as I recall). Truth to tell, this is Demy fils' first full-length film as writer and director, and I am more familiar with this fellow via his often excellent acting. Most recently he's been seen here as the dad in the fine movie Tomboy and on VOD in the very interes-ting, student-as-prostitute tale Student Services (Mes chères études). So, what to make of his film-making debut? Whew. Of the 17 films I'm seen so far, AMERICANO is the stinker of the bunch.
Salma Hayek (above, left: a mystery girl who turns sentimental and has a surprise connection to another character we've seen), Geraldine Chaplin (a one-note cliche who, at least, gets to slap Demy) and Carlos Bardem (two photos up, at left, as the Hayek character's pimp/protector, who really gives Martin a pummeling -- or ten). None of these actors can begin to latch on to anything approaching a real character, thanks to the pre-determined whims of the very poor screenplay (Demy again). I don't know what to think. The wisest, kindest thing might be to proclaim happiness that the filmmaker has now gotten Americano out of his system and can move on to, well, just about anything else. The movie screened yesterday at the Walter Reade and will show again today, March 4, at 6:45 at IFC Center and again Tuesday, March 6, at 7:30 at BAM. M. Demy will be making a personal appearance at all screenings. And if you miss at at Rendez-vous, his movie has been picked up for U.S. distribution by MPI Media Group.