The marathon is over! 37 movies in 13 days!… Last night was the Edith Piaf biopic “La Vie en Rose”… quite a spectacular effort. The lead actress does an incredible job, and the casting was fantastic for the various kids who play Piaf at earlier ages… very sad story, but quite entertaining, well shot and edited (I could have cut out some of the numerous endings that litter the end of the film, but so it goes)…
Here’s the last few capsule reactions/reviews of films I saw:
The Yacoubian Building
Very entertaining, nearly three hours long, a dense movie with at least four or five plot lines all weaving in and out of the Beaux Artes building of the title in Cairo, as well as weaving in and out of class and occupations. Bleak portrayal of the fate of women, which was only the most obvious aspect of the European gaze that framed this story. Based on the all-time best-selling Egyptian novel (written by a dentist!) it blatantly harkens back to an era before the 1956 revolution, when people knew their place and life for the wealthy was very good. One of the main characters is a slowly sinking sonof a pasha, 65 years old, who gets thrown out of his family’s lush apartment by his bitter, heartless sister. His efforts to preserve some kind of civilized kindness is the core of the film, while around that story, several other sagas of political corruption, gangsterism, Islamic terrorism and manipulation, and a whole gay story too, all unfold. The gay angle is super cliche and silly, and the dire portray of women sexually harassed, bought and sold, and kept, all belies the horrified western eye. Of course it’s easy to sympathize since I too am horrified by the treatment of women shown here; few characters are ultimately admirable except the fallen pasha who marries the chaste pretty poor girl for a happy ending. Still, the romanticized Cairo was interesting to compare to the gritty corners occupied by “These Girls” the night before.