(Download Good Ol' Freda) Thérèse Desqueyroux , an adaptation of the 1927 Francois Mauriac novel of the same name, is the final film by veteran French filmmaker Claude Miller, who died in April 2012 at the age of 70.(Good Ol' Freda Download) Set in 1926 in Landes, an area in southwest France, the movie stars Audrey Tautou as Thérèse, who attempts to rein in her unconventional nature by marrying Bernard Desqueyroux (Gilles Lellouche), a Catholic landowner for whom tradition and upper-class mores are paramount.
(Download Good Ol' Freda) Longing for Paris, Thérèse feels stifled by provincial bourgeois life. She is intellectually and emotionally dying on the vine. Driven by pressures that she claims caused an “imperceptible slope,” she attempts to poison her husband. Bernard survives and Thérèse is caught.(Download Good Ol' Freda Movie) To maintain outward appearances, Bernard helps his wife escape a prison sentence, only to disgrace and incarcerate her psychologically. Driven to near madness, she finally wins her long sought-after freedom. As she heads off to Paris, Thérèse shares with Bernard a moment devoid of social constraints and codes.
Thérèse Desqueyroux, with its more classical mis-en-scène, is a visually appealing film with an adept cast. Despite opting for a somewhat familiar storyline, Miller takes his time developing his characters, providing a number of devastating, climactic sequences. A quote by French author André Gide (1869-1951) is acknowledged in the movie as encapsulating one of its central themes: “ Let every emotion be capable of becoming an intoxication to you. If what you eat fails to make you drunk, it is because you are not hungry enough. ”
(Download Good Ol' Freda) In Chimeras, Finnish documentarian Mika Mattila looks at China’s contemporary cultural scene. Following artists from two different generations, both post-Mao, the movie is a confused critique of what the filmmaker apparently perceives as potentially fatal threats to Chinese culture: globalization, the free market and massive Western investment.
The movie’s concerns are established in its opening, as excerpts of a letter from the Qianlong Emperor, ruler of China from 1735-1796, written to England’s King George III in 1793, scroll across the screen: “I set no value on objects strange or ingenious, and have no use for ... manufactures of outside barbarians.”
(Download Good Ol' Freda) Wang Guangyi (born 1956-57), a painter, is considered one of the fathers of contemporary Chinese art. He was a co-founder of the 85 Movement during the era of capitalist restoration under Deng Xiaoping in the 1980s and is today the country’s most successful artist, with $23 million in auction sales in 2008.
One gains the impression that Wang is traumatized by China’s complicated history and in particular the false promises and hardships of the Cultural Revolution, during which he worked for three years in a rural village. Like many Chinese artists and intellectuals, he appears to have little understanding of the Chinese Revolution and its history, which fascinates and disturbs him. Wang refers somewhat incoherently to Hegel and creates Warhol-inspired pop art about the encroachment of what he disparagingly calls “Western materialism.”
(Download Good Ol' Freda) The younger artist, photographer Lui Gang, views China’s “Westernization,” as more or less inevitable. Through his camera, he records the commercialization of daily life via foreign advertising. (In one shot, Tai chi is being practiced in front of a giant, illuminated Cartier sign.)
As “hot commodities” on the international art market, to which both artists have adapted, Wang and Lui have developed something of an identity crisis (“Who am I? What am I?”). In the case of Lui, a product of the One Child Policy, intense parental pressures come into play and he eventually chooses a less stressful, more mundane path.
Separately, Wang and Lui wander around and wonder about the country’s cultural prospects. (During the course of their musings, we see a great deal of interesting footage of China.) Their bewilderment is matched by that of director Mattila, who admits in an interview that “I don’t understand more about China now. I know more, but I don’t understand more.”
(Download Good Ol' Freda) Filmmakers Lucien Castaing-Taylor and Véréna Paravel have set their documentary on board a commercial groundfish trawler that operates off the coast of New Bedford, Massachusetts. Unfortunately, a reading of festival notes about the film is a must for this to be understood.
Leviathan is literally a lab experiment. It is a compilation of color, sounds and indefinable images—and the occasional flash of blurry water, fish, fisherman and boat. The melding of bits of the concrete with a mass of the intangible is visually fetching. But the overall monotony leads one to wish for a fast-forward button.
Self-consciously—almost narcissistically—the film pays tribute to an unglamorous, tough and dangerous profession. It is dedicated “to the memory of countless other vessels lost at sea off the New Bedford coast.”(Watch Good Ol' Freda Online) Nonetheless, Leviathan is mostly a test of the viewer’s nerves and endurance that imparts little knowledge about its ostensible subject matter.