Audrey Tautou – Body Of Work

As you may have gathered from my review of Delicacy, I love Audrey Tautou. I am a long-time defender of her career as she is often wrongfully labelled as a typecast actress. Sure, she has starred in more romantic comedies than you’ve had hot croissants (unless you aren’t a big eater of hot croissants, in which case I don’t care what you think) but that doesn’t mean she plays the same role over and over.

Realizing that I haven’t watched as many Audrey Tautou films as I thought I had (but enough to know that she is one diverse lady) and finally getting fed up of seeing “if you liked Amelie, you’ll love this!” on anything to do with a Tautou film, I have decided to join Mild Concern editor, Tim’s “Body Of Work” quests and review as many Tautou’s films as I can get my hands on.

Although my initial reasons for reviewing Tautou’s catalogue of work were a tad cynical – I mean, who dedicates potentially millions of hours of their time to reviewing, just to prove a point to no one? – the undertaking of this effort is still more an act of love than one of smarm and I look forward to all the varied and probably-gorgeous films ahead.

Sadly not all of Audrey Tautou’s work is available to us here in the UK (I love the lady, but not enough to pay premium for imported DVDs whilst I am on the breadline!) so below is the list of films I will be reviewing where and when I can courtesy of my own DVD collection, borrowing from others and Lovefilm:

     Venus Beauty | Vénus beauté (institut)

     Happenstance | Le Battement d’ailes du papillon

     Amélie | Le Fabuleux Destin d’Amélie Poulain

     God Is Great and I Am Not | Dieu est grand, je suis toute petite

     He Loves Me… He Loves Me Not | À la folie… pas du tout

     Pot Luck | L’Auberge espagnole

     Dirty Pretty Things

     A Very Long Engagement | Un long dimanche de fiançailles

     Russian Dolls – Pot Luck 2 | Les Poupées russes

     Hunting And Gathering | Ensemble, c’est tout (2006)

     The Da Vinci Code | Ron Howard’s Adventures Of Tom Hanks & Audrey Tautou

     Priceless | Hors de prix

     Coco Before Chanel |Coco avant Chanel

     Beautiful Lies | De vrais mensonges

     Delicacy | La délicatesse

    Thérèse D | Thérèse Desqueyroux

Finally, if you’re reading this Audrey, I look forward to a scented letter of appreciation for this endeavour and I await your invitation to a romantic evening together.

Delicacy – Review

The Mild Concern editors, Tim and Kat take to foreign cinema regularly. The closest I usually get to foreign films is when a non-American/Englishman directs a mainstream release. That said, any time a new Audrey Tautou film is released I’ll be there in the blink of an eye.

Sadly Tautou’s latest starring-film, Delicacy (or La Délicatesse if you will) has been hit with numerous reviews of mediocrity, it simply being shamed as a “been there, done that” flick. Sure, by French film standards it probably is nothing new but for those who don’t experience much European cinema it is an absolute delight – even if I did spend half of the film trying to stop myself from crying.

Based on the novel of the same name (written by the David half of the brother-directors of the film, Stéphane and David Foenkinos), Delicacy observes relationships idyllic and not so conventional when career-girl Nathalie’s (Tautou) world is destroyed by the untimely death of her husband. Three years later and still grieving she impulsively kisses workmate Markus (François Damiens) who is ugly even by European cinema’s standards. So begins the mostly funny, sometimes awkward, but always touching pseudo beauty-and-the-beast tale.

Packed with so much cheese that I’m sure Garry Marshall (Dir. Valentine’s Day, New Years Eve) had a heart attack of envy, Delicacy manages to actually steer away from all of the superficiality of the traditional (Hollywood-like) romantic comedy; its directors and acting ensemble huffing and puffing with genuine heart at making a film with as little fluff as possible. Of course, when Pez dispensers are love-gushing gifts and all-you-can-eat Chinese buffets are ironic romantic evenings the average cinemagoer probably wants to throw up, but Delicacy’s delicately (hur hur) handled sentimentality never feels artificial enough for us to stop believing in the story.

It’s a great effort from all involved, and the chemistry that the film’s plot demands of its cast is sufficient enough to get the point across that Audrey Tautou should never play a sad character because it is too depressing for me anyone to handle. There are plentiful hilarious moments and enough drama that expands on the formulaic rom-com template evident that makes it more than worth the price of a ticket. Just pick up a box of tissues on the way to the cinema.

Introducing… Body of Work

Body of Work is a new feature we’re going to be running here at Mild Concern, or more accurately a new feature consisting of more features consisting of reviews. Welcome to a post about some posts about yet more posts. In Inception, this is me drugging you on a plane.

It has become clear to me that in order to truly understand and appreciate modern cinema, for better or worse, it is important to understand everything that has come before it. How can we judge a remake without knowing what it is remaking?

To better understand the journey of film we can’t just rely on watching The Story of Film: An Odyssey, we need to get our hands dirty.

In Body of Work we will take a director, writer, actor or group of puppets and watch their entire output from start to finish. This will be a lot easier for some subjects than others but should be an enlightening process. You never know, we might uncover a few gems along the way.

We’ll introduce the first Body of Work tomorrow and see where it takes us. If nothing else this is going to be a great way of generating content in slow weeks.

I’ll pop buttons in the sidebar so the progress is easy to follow and the list of subjects will be below as soon as there are some to list.