Posts Tagged ‘Gerard Depardieu’

The Actor and the Wrestler

Robust

Director: Constance Meyer

Cast: Gerard Depardieu, Deborah Lukumena, Lucas Mortier

Film Rating: 7 out of 10

This film is in French with English subtitles

Screened virtually at the 2021 European Film Festival

Oscar nominee for Cyrano de Bergerac Gerard Depardieu returned to the 2021 Cannes Film Festival with a self-reflexive film entitled Robust also starring an amazing Deborah Lukumena as Aissa a trained wrestler who takes on the rather strange job of protecting a famous actor past his prime Georges.

Gerard Depardieu as aging actor Georges

Georges is wonderfully played by the bad boy of French cinema Gerard Depardieu (The Life of Pi, The Secret Agent, La Vie en Rose), a character that is larger than life and is essentially a spoilt and needy actor who constantly requires attention and someone to assuage his prickly ego.

A fretful hypochondriac, Georges is preparing for a new role in a 19th century period film in which he is required to play a French land owner who is timid, vanquished and lost. And he must learn fencing.

Yet like all aging film stars, Georges who lives in a plush apartment in Paris is constantly misbehaving until he gets assigned a new protector the aspiring female wrestler Aissa who takes none of his nonsense or his masculine foibles.

Deborah Lukumena as Aissa

Aissa is trying to make a life for herself in Paris as she casually dates her co-worker the vacuous Eddy played by Lucas Mortier who is really using Aissa for sex.

Directed by Constance Meyer, Robust is essentially a slow moving study of two completely opposite characters who find an unlikely connection and form a bond. Aissa is not bothered by Georges supposed fame, while Georges feels secure knowing that Aissa is available even when he frequently disappears or goes off the rails.

Robust is not a dazzling film, but a wonderful character study of two fascinating people at the opposite end of their lives. Aissa is just starting out as a body guard and protector while Georges is constantly fretting over his fading stardom, even though he takes his wealth and privilege for granted, falling off motorbikes and getting inebriated.

The best scene in the film is when Georges gate crashes Aissa and Eddy’s romantic dinner at a Chinese restaurant in the 20th arrondisement of Paris and the young Eddy does not take to the cantankerous actor who is oblivious to how he burdens other people with his demands.

Robust gets a film rating of 7 out of 10 and is an enjoyable and light hearted French film and viewers will relish watching the delightful Depardieu on the screen again.

Tiger Tiger Burning Bright

Life of Pi

Sharing a lifeboat with Richard Parker

Sharing a lifeboat with Richard Parker

Astounding visuals and an extraordinary tale of survival make Life of Pi worth seeing. Based upon the hit novel by Yann Martel which I was first introduced to in a London Bookshop six years ago by a good friend of mine, Life of Pi tells the extraordinary tale of Pi, a boy who grew up in the French colonial region of India and whose father ran the Pondicherry Zoo.

Pi’s seemingly tranquil childhood in Pondicherry is spent experimenting with different religions from Hinduism to Christianity and endlessly teased at school by his classmates for his unusual name Pi, which he quickly shortened from his original birth name Piscine Moritor Patel, named after a Parisian swimming pool which his father once had the good fortune to swim in.

Pi’s exotic youth is disrupted when his parents decide to emigrate to Canada from India. The catch being that the journey was to be on a Japanese freighter sailing from India to Canada around the Pacific and Pi’s father insisted on taking some of the zoo animals with them including a Bengal Tiger, a zebra, an orang-utan and a hyena.

During a horrific storm off the coast of the Philippines, the freighter sinks leaving Pi now sixteen stranded on a life boat with several animals including a Bengal Tiger, a zebra,  an orang-utan and a hyena. Naturally in these extraordinary circumstances survival of the fittest ensues and soon afterwards it is only Pi faced with the prospect of sharing a lifeboat with a Bengal Tiger oddly named Richard Parker.

Yann Martel’s brilliant novel Life of Pi leaves much to the imagination and is beautifully written, winning the 2002 Man Booker Prize for Fiction. It is only through the expert eyes of Oscar winning film director Ang Lee whose successes include Brokeback Mountain, The Ice Storm and Lust, Caution that this extraordinary tale of courage, survival and triumph be brought to the big screen with the assistance of some amazing special effects making the Life of Pi an unbelievable and wonderfully told novel come to life on the big screen.

Director Ang Lee whose previous films all dealt with decidedly human dilemmas of forbidden love, family dramas and political intrigue proves he is equally adept at handling a tale about survival, triumph and one teenage boy’s determination to beat Mother Nature’s odds despite his extraordinary situation of being stranded on a lifeboat in the Pacific ocean for almost a year with only a hungry Bengal Tiger for company…

Naturally the special effects team of Avatar and Titanic also offer great assistance in bringing this extraordinary novel to the big screen and also shown in 3D. Read the book of Life of Pi and by all means don’t miss the colourful cinematic version. Recommended!

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