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David Poland

By David Poland

Loves Ya, But…

Look… I am rooting for Atom Egoyan… I am rooting for Amanda Seyfried… we are all, obviously, greatly sympathetic to and rooting for Liam Neeson, who soldiered on after a terrible unexpected personal loss… and I am even rooting for Julianne Moore, Ivan Reitman and Erin Cressida Wilson. The film landscape that Chloe is working is challenging for audiences and for funding. God bless the ambition.
Those challenges are well documented in this NYT piece about the film.
And I appreciate that the word “remake” isn’t the best bait for a film that’s looking for distribution… especially when the film being remade got a 2 screen release in the US on the way to DVD.
But the film that Chloe is based on, Nathalie…, is not only a terrific movie in its own right, with three very strong performances, but the filmmaker, Anne Fontaine, is – like Atom Egoyan – one of the few top-notch filmmakers who make movies about women that are not “chick flicks,” but serious, challenging, and often underappreciated in America.
Fontaine is traveling America now with her Sony Classics release Coco Before Chanel, which like all her best work, lingers in memory like the perfume of a lover you can’t seem to forget. My first encounter with her as a director was How I Killed My Father, which I wandered into at TIFF with some free time to fill. Amazing. Nathalie… continued my love of her work, in part because it was not what one might expect from the synopsis. It’s sexy at times, but so not the way we are used to seeing on screen, with the younger, sexy girl being objectified by the filmmaker. It’s more an observation of that objectification than an invitation for the audience to objectify her. The Girl From Monaco was her romp with a twist that got here this last summer. And now, Coco, which is so much more than I imagined… not really a bio-pic, though it is… not really a feminism film, though it is… not really a period piece, though it is.
Anyway… I understand why the producers and sales company might want to hide Nathalie… under a bushel. But it’s not respectful of an artist whose growth parallels Egoyan’s.

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7 Responses to “Loves Ya, But…”

  1. Noah says:

    Ahhh, so it IS indeed a remake of Nathalie…! I’d been wondering about that ever since I read the logline, but on IMDb it didn’t say that it was based on an earlier screenplay. And you’re definitely right, DP, Nathalie… is a really great movie and I don’t know how Amanda Seyfried could be half as good as Emmanuelle Beart was.

  2. Glad to hear some positive word about Coco Before Chanel. I’m having a hard time putting my finger on it and at the time it felt awfully light, but like you say it kind of lingers.
    It’s great for not being the usual biopic and it actually downplays the moments of high drama that would ordinarily be milked. And yet that might be a drawback. It’s so…wispy.

  3. Rob says:

    Oh, so you’re not rooting for Julianne, huh? Not that she’s lacking for work, but I’m starting to get the feeling that people are taking this great actress for granted.

  4. David Poland says:

    She’s noted, Rob.
    And you are right. Not only is she a great actress, but she supports complex work by smart filmmakers who are not money-first filmmakers.

  5. Joe Leydon says:

    Guess I’m in the minority here: I caught Nathaline at the Toronto Film Festival a few years back and was… underwhelmed. And, mind you, I’m a big fan of Fanny Ardant, G

  6. KamikazeCamelV2.0 says:

    Coco Avant Chanel isn’t that good, really. Not sure what David saw in it that lingers other than the gorgeous costumes. AHEMSELFPROMOTION

  7. KamikazeCamelV2.0 says:

    Oh, but Dave is the only professional person I’ve seen mention the Nathalie… connection. The number of times i have mentioned that movie and they dont even know what it is…

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