Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Love is Blue

Love is Blue and Gray in “3 Hearts”

By Skip Sheffield

“Bleu, bleu, l’amour est bleu.”
So went a French pop song that was a worldwide hit in 1967.
It could be the theme song of “3 Hearts,” the bittersweet story of a love triangle amongst a man and two sisters.
Marc (Benoit Poelvoorde) misses a train one evening in provincial France. He chances to spot Sylvie (Charlotte Gainsbourg), a woman who intrigues him.
Marc watches Sylvie buy a pack of Marlboro Lights (she is a chain-smoker) and strikes up a conversation by asking if she knows of a local hotel.
The attraction is mutual and intense. Neither Gainsbourg nor Poelvoorde is conventionally beautiful. Gainsbourg is “interesting,” with a rail-thin physique, high cheekbones and a somber countenance. Poelvoorde has close-set, beady eyes, a recessive chin, thinning hair and a non-buff body.
Evidentally Marc is quite the chick magnet, as Sylvie is so charmed with him she wanders with him until dawn then agrees to meet him the next Friday at 6 p.m. at the Eiffel Tower in Paris.
By circumstances beyond his control Marc, a tax inspector, is late for the appointment and just misses Sylvie as she is leaving.
A few weeks later Marc meets Sophie (Chiara Mastroianni), who hires Marc to examine her books. Sophie lives in a country mansion with her elegant mother (Catherine Deneuve). She runs a fine antiques business founded by her mother, and now runs it solo since her sister has left France to go with her husband Christophe to Minneapolis, USA. What Marc doesn’t know is that Sophie is the younger sister of Sylvie.
But Sylvia has been away, and Marc, smitten by Sophie, marries her and they soon have a son.
Can you guess there is unspoken tension when Sylvia returns to France for a joint celebration of her 40th and her mother’s 60th birthday?
The French have a famously blasé attitude about affairs and infidelity. That does not mean there are not consequences. Love is sweet, but it is also blue and gray and sometimes black.

The Lost Key

Speaking of sex, if you are having trouble in the bedroom and are a practicing Jew, you might want to visit your rabbi.
“The Lost Key,” which premieres at Palm Beach International Film Festival, is a collaboration between writer/director Ricardo Adler, who suffered a traumatic divorce, and Rabbi Manis Friedman, an acclaimed author, marriage counselor and lecturer who details ancient Jewish secrets of the Torah on how to find a fulfilling marriage and breed the promise of “oneness.”
As a gentile and scholar of religion, I found “Lost Key” interesting, illuminating and entertaining. If you are a devout Jew you may find it vital.

“It Follows” the Subtle Horror of Teenage Sex

“It Follows” is one of those pseudo-documentary horror films that use suggestion and nuance rather than explicit sex and gross violence to achieve its thrills.
Like nearly all teenage horror flicks, sex is the root of evil. In the case of director David Robert Mitchell, it is the root of all evil that keeps on giving, or infecting.
Jay (Maika Monroe) is a blond, directionless 19-year-old who succumbs to a one-night stand with a guy she didn’t know in the back seat of his car. The sex is joyless and not arousing. At the end Jay is informed she is infected, and will be followed by evil everywhere she goes, until she has sex with another guy and passes on the nasty gene to another unfortunate.
“It Follows” is rife with tributes to horror flicks of yore. We even see Jay and her friends watching 1950s B-movies on a grainy black-and-white television. All the main characters drive huge American cars from the 1960s and 1970s. Though they have cell phones, at home there are old-fashioned dial-up phones.
I thought the fact Jay and her boyfriend took in “Charade” at the Redford Theatre was a salute to Robert Redford and his Sundance Film Festival. Wrong, it is a real vintage theater in a suburb of Detroit, where much of the film was shot.
“It Follows” has gotten a lot of good reviews since it debuted at the 2014 Toronto Film Festival. I don’t get it, but then again I didn’t get “Paranormal Activity” or its sequels either. To each his own.

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