Posts Tagged ‘In French with English Subtitles’

LA RAFLE (THE ROUNDUP) review by John Delia

February 16th, 2012 No comments








By John Delia



It’ not often enough that we can get reminded in film of some of the more dismal times from the past, especially those that show ‘man’s inhumanity to man.’  This happens to be the case of La Rafle (The Round-Up) a French film that captures a period in history covering the cruel extermination of a helpless people, including children in the 1941-45 France.  The movie has a sorrowful tone that resonates throughout yet a must see to remind us that the world we live in is so fragile.


The film opens with French children already wearing the yellow Jewish identification star sewn to their clothes like some sort of tattoo.  With fear of punishment and death, the Jewish people are scared with the scorns of those who look upon them as a scourge.  Stamped with this awful disparagement they still go on with their daily lives. The Nazi occupied France has put fear in the pathetic Vichy Government to do their bidding and time is running out for all Jews everywhere. 


Children and women being rounded up for extermination in La Rafle

With an order from Adolph Eichmann, the French police have been told to round up 20,000 Jews and movie them to the Velodrome d’Hiver, a massive stadium normally used for rallies and sporting events.  There they will wait their fate as French Vichy leaders debate with Hitler’s bidders on the next step in the lives of these powerless humans.  An unfavorable decision gets made and thousands of men, women and children are put in the Beaune La Rolande detaining facility, the last step before total extermination.

The solemnity of the film showing how vulnerable we are as humans to governments, the power that’s wielded by a chosen few and the fear that instills a weakness in those that are afflicted gets played out under the excellent direction of Roselyne Bosch. 

Also the writer of the true story Bosch relates that “All the events, even the most extreme, happened during this month of July 1942”.  Her story isn’t all an uncourageous narrative as we are presented with heroes like Dr. David Sheinbaum played by Jean Reno who gives his medical experience to his fellow Jewish prisoners.  Reno has that kind of poetic face that shows a kindness and love for what he does, even in the face of being subjected to the same fate as his fellow Jews.

Melanie Laurent as Annette Monod

La Rafle (The Roundup) has not been rated by the MPAA, but contains brutality, language, violence and a rape. The movie is performed in French with English Subtitles. I recommend this film as a must see for all adults.


FINAL ANALYSIS: An important reminder and an excellent production. (A)



  • Cast: Melanie Laurent, Jean Reno, Hugo Leverdez, and Anne Brochet, with Mathieu and Romain Di Concerto as Nono Zygler
  • Directed and Written by: Roselyne Bosch
  • MPAA Rating: Unrated (contains violence, rape, language and brutality)
  • Genre: Foreign, Drama
  • Running Time: 2 hrs 4min
  • Opening Date: Now Showing
  • Distributed by: Menemsha Films
  • South Florida theaters:   Miami: The Tower Theater, Frank Intracoastal 8
  • Ft. Lauderdale: Cinema Paradiso, Tamarac Cinema 5, Gateway 4
  • Palm Bch County: Living Room Theaters, Movies of Delray, Movies of Lake Worth


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LE HAVRE, review by John Delia

December 9th, 2011 No comments








Cast: André Wilms, Blondin Miguel, Kati Outinen, and Jean-Pierre Darroussin

Directed by: Aki Kaurismaki

MPAA Rating: Unrated

Genre: Drama, Foreign

Running Time: 1hr 33min






By John Delia


One of the better foreign films to be released in the US, Le Havre makes a statement about human rights.  I like the way the movie presents the characters, moves the story along and ends on an upbeat note.  If you love movies that put some heart into the storyline, then go see Le Havre.


Marcel Marx (André Wilms) and Idrissa (Blondin Miguel) in LE HAVRE

Idrissa (Blondin Miguel) an illegal alien delivered to the French port of Le Havre in a shipping container and finds himself in the wrong European city and being pursued by Monet (Jean-Pierre Darroussin) a relentless policeman. By chance the African youngster crosses the path of Marcel Marx (André Wilms), a careworn shoeshine man who decides to help the boy on the run.  With support from his community Marcel sets forward a plan to get Idrissa to England.  When Monet gets wind of it, the two have to face the possible consequences.


The compassionate film shows that people have the selflessness to help those that are unfortunate in circumstances that put lives at risk.  Director Aki Kaurismaki (Man Without a Past), known for his filmmaking that involves the hardships of people, puts Idrissa in a situation that’s a hot topic in America today.  It’s a poignant story that puts forth a lot of questions and with his heartfelt film shows how one man’s gets answered.


The film gets played out quickly, developing characters like Marcel, his wife Arletty (Kati Outinen) and others in his community showing the simple life they are living. With the opening of the shipping container and the sight of the people inside, Kaurismaki introduces the problem, and with the exception of Idrissa who escapes, he sets their fate.  With Idrissa, however, Kaurismaki takes his destiny and survival and puts them into the hands one very special man.


Le Havre has not been rated by the MPAA, but contains some peril.  The film is presented in the French Language with English Subtitles.



FINAL ANALYSIS: A passionate look at life on the run. (B)






September 9th, 2010 No comments


mademoisellechambon_smallposterStarring: Vincent Lindon, Sandrine Kiberlain, Aure Atika and Arthur Le Houérou

Directed by: Stéphane Brizé

MPAA Rating: Unrated

Genre: Drama, Art/Foreign in French with subtitiles

Running Time: 1hr 41min

Distributed by: Lorber Films

By John Delia

Mademoiselle Chambon is one of those films that provide a look at relationships showing critical turning points in some people’s lives.  It is extremely well acted, gets touching at times and delivers a heartbreaker.  Although somewhat of a heartless and hurtful subject matter, the movie does entertain.

Veronique Chambon (Sandrine Kiberlain) and Jean (Vincent Lindon)

Veronique Chambon (Sandrine Kiberlain) and Jean (Vincent Lindon)

The film centers on Veronique Chambon (Sandrine Kiberlain), a lonely woman who has taken a job as an interim teacher at a private grade school in France.  One of her pupils is Jeremy (Arthur Le Houérou), an average student from a nice family.  Jeremy’s mother Anne-Marie (Aure Atika) usually picks up Jeremy after school each day, but hurts her back on the job.  She sends her husband Jean (Vincent Lindon), a builder, to get Jeremy after school and he meets his teacher.  On a second occasion while picking up his son Veronique asks Jean if he would come to their class to talk about his job so they could learn more about the workplace.  Following his presentation she asks him to repair a window at her apartment.  So starts an unexpected romance that challenges the relationships of everyone involved.

Director Stéphane Brizé

Director Stéphane Brizé

Both Kiberlain and Lindon have excellent chemistry as the forbidden couple.  Director Stéphane Brizé keeps the camera close as he shows the growing attraction between the two.  The burning desire comes off the screen so well that you almost feel that it’s a good thing.  Brizé slowly develops the relationship and all the elements that lead up to an understandable ending.

The filming including some glimpses of French life in the small town is traveler worthy and offers a great canvas for the film.  I enjoyed the fact that Brizé keeps the film moving along at a fast clip so there isn’t any time for the mind to wander.

The film is unrated but does contain language, adult situations and some violence.

The film is presented in the French language with English subtitles.

FINAL ANALYSIS: A performance film that connects. (3.5 of 5)

WILD GRASS written review

August 12th, 2010 No comments

“Les herbes folles”

wildgrass_smallposterStarring: Sabine Azema, Andre Dussollier, Emmanuelle Devos, Anne Consigny, and Mathieu Amalric

Directed by: Alain Resnais

MPAA Rating: PG for some thematic material, language and brief smoking.

Genre: Art/Foreign, Drama,  French with English Subs

Running time: 1 hr. 53 min.

Distributed by: Sony Pictures Classics

By John Delia

This is a quirky tale of stalking and romance that to me really didn’t come off the screen that well.  It’s called Wild Grass and the film may become my choice for the dullest foreign film of the year.  Droll acting, lackluster direction and a limp camera turn what could have been a good script into French onion soup without the cheese.

André Dussollier as Georges Palet and Mathieu Amalric as Policeman Bernard de Bordeaux

André Dussollier as Georges Palet and Mathieu Amalric as Policeman Bernard de Bordeaux

The story starts out on the right track with a thief stealing Marguerite’s (Sabine Azema) purse taking the money and discarding the wallet in a parking garage by Georges (Andre Dussollier) car.  Georges finds the wallet and turns it into the police.  Tormented by not knowing what Marguerite is like he starts stalking her.  When she starts to become afraid things take an unromantic nosedive.

The acting here is really not very good at all and with the subtitles flying by the film becomes even more unbearable.  There is not one iota of chemistry between the characters and director Alain Resnais fails to provide his audience with any ‘realistic’

Director Alain Resnais going over a scene with Mathieu Amalric

Director Alain Resnais going over a scene with Mathieu Amalric

story at all.  I’m sure there is some sort of French characterization that I am not able to grasp as Resnais has directed twenty-five films since his first in 1953 leading me to believe that this must be experimental.

There isn’t much more I can say about Wild Grass other than see it at your own risk.  The film is rated PG for some thematic material, language and brief smoking.

FINAL ANALYSIS: Only see it if you want to waste some time: (1 of 5)