We haven’t been keeping abreast with Berlinale news, so we thought we’d take a break to look at what’s been said about two of the more talked-about films from the festival, Olivier Dahan‘s opening night Edith Piaf biopic "La Vie En Rose (La MÃ´me)" and Park Chan-wook‘s "I’m a Cyborg, But That’s Okay."
"La MÃ´me": Dennis Lim, reporting for indieWIRE, salutes star Marion Cotillard (late of "A Good Year") for her "gutsy, whole-hog performance" as Piaf, but finds there’s little else to the film. James Christopher at the London Times has similar complaints, admiring the performances while remaining otherwise unmoved: "Ultimately Dahan leans too heavily on the blasts of pure sentiment unleashed by the immortal songs. Despite the best efforts of Cotillard, that is never quite enough."
At Like Anna Karina’s Sweater, Filmbrain calls the film "thoroughly entertaining," again calling out Cotillard while finding the direction problematic.
Dahan doesn’t shy away from portraying little sparrow in a less than flattering light, but it seems to lack the courage to dig a bit deeper into how these events helped shape her into the artist she was. A good bit of fun, but leaves you wondering what it would have been like in the hands of another director.
At Greencine Daily, David Hudson calls Cotillard "magnificent" while finding the film both "nearly twice as long as it should be" and lacking in important biographical details. At Variety, Lisa Nesselson has only praise, writing that "the portrait feels rich and rounded… Sweeping, slightly dreamlike result has plenty of forward momentum but also feels unhurried." At the Hollywood Reporter, Kirk Honeycutt declares the film a kind of messy success, one that is "unafraid of extravagant gestures even when they fail to come off."
EMI is forecasting record-breaking sales of soundtracks, Piaf’s acquaintances have released books, a musical hits Paris this week and television specials have attracted millions of viewers. Politicians on the presidential campaign have seized on the cult of Piaf – the destitute daughter of a street acrobat who grew up in a brothel, and whose tragic lyrics and piercing voice have made France nostalgic for the postwar years.
"La Vie en Rose" is set for June 8th release from Picturehouse.
+ "I’m a Cyborg, But That’s OK": At Greencine Daily, David Hudson discusses Park Chan-wook’s insane asylum-set…romantic comedy?…with his daughter Adrienne. David had a hard time warming up to the film, though as it went on "the mythology, or alternative reality that’s conjured between the two leads does eventually take on breadth and depth, making the film’s second half much better than its first." Adrienne is much fonder, writing that "The film is very much like a fairy tale, with its journeys into almost magical worlds and its themes of friendship, revenge and love."
In the trades, Kirk Honeycutt at the Hollywood Reporter calls the film a "major disappointment from a hot director" and the performances overdone; Derek Elley at Variety thinks the film is a success, if overlong.
And over at Cinematical, Erik Davis likes the film, crediting the writing: "The script, written by Chan-wook and Jeong Seo-Gyeong, delicately dances along that line between comedic and dramatic, presenting us with an eccentric tale about eccentric people who desperately want to believe that they’re special; that they have a purpose in life beyond the white walls of a mental hospital."
"I’m a Cyborg, but That’s Okay" does not yet have a US distributor.
+ Adventurous "Chatterley" Atop Berlinale Crop; Cotillard Shines, Costanzo’s Latest Leads Competition, So Far (indieWIRE)
+ La Mome (London Times)
+ Berlinale Diary 1: No Regrets (Like Anna Karina’s Sweater)
+ Berlinale Dispatch. La MÃ´me. (Greencine Daily)
+ La Vie en rose (Variety)
+ La vie en rose (Hollywood Reporter)
+ France swoons on a wave of Piaf nostalgia (Guardian)
+ Berlinale Dispatch. I’m a Cyborg, But That’s OK. (Daily Greencine)
+ I’m a Cyborg, but That’s OK (Hollywood Reporter)
+ I’m a Cyborg, but That’s OK (Variety)
+ Berlinale Review: I’m A Cyborg, But That’s Okay (Cinematical)