REVIEW: Ensemble, C'est Tout/Hunting And Gathering

Sunday, April 22, 2007 at 3:07 p.m.

This is the sixth film I saw as part of the COL•COA (City of Lights, City of Angels) screenings held at the DGA (Directors' Guild of America).

I don't know who Claude Berri is but I'm never watching his film again.

This was actually my most anticipated movie of the day, due to the actors in it, Audrey Tautou and Guillaume Canet. Ultimately, the film is one with interesting characters but a rambling storyline which tries its best not to fit into any genre, any stereotype, any previously trodden path.

All the actors, not just Tautou and Canet, deliver good performances. In particular, in the beginning Canet was rather detestable as a character because of his bad-temperedness, but through the change administered by Tautou's presence his nicer qualities are revealed. Theirs is probably the dominant relationship, though it took about a third of the movie before they even met up properly. I guess I had that anticipation due to the misleading poster, which was pointing towards a romance film.

It isn't. It's about relationships, between Tautou's Camille, Canet's Franck, Franck's eccentric stuttering housemate Phillibert and Franck's grandmere Paulette, and not anyone in particular, nor anyone's stories in particular. Which is weird, because one is used to Hollywood style films where there IS one dominant relationship and every other ones are recognised as secondary and filmed and edited as such. Here, each one takes equal importance - the relationship between Camille and Franck takes up perhaps 30% of the movie.

Ultimately, as French as the film tries to be, I wished there was a story to support these characters.

How Good The Film Is: 7/10
How Much I Like It: 6.5/10
At What Point Did I First Look At My Watch: 35 mins

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