Review of movie Belle de Jour

Catherine Deneuve is a French actress who has played in a lot of R-rated movies.   The movie, Belle de Jour, is French and subtitled in English.   She usually played one of the aloof, cool, mysterious blondes like Alfred Hitchcock’s Grace Kelly or Tipi Hedron.

In Belle de Jour, Catherine’s character, Belle ne’ Severine, married a successful surgeon, but constantly fantasized about sex.   Catherine’s character acted frigid and her husband (Jean Sorel) didn’t force the issue.   What would have made the movie more interesting was if it had been explained why she didn’t desire her new “Prince Charming”-like wealthy doctor husband.   Thus, the marriage was never consummated.

But, she got hired at a local brothel where she gave up her treasure to diverse strange men and was quite happy during the day while her husband was at work.   The movie ends in near-tragedy, but not in the way you would think.  Individuals can’t necessarily live out every fantasy they can think up.  But, I liked the movie because I like adult fantasy movies, and I don’t remember seeing any nudity.

Catherine Deneuve played in a vampire movie that I liked called The Hunger, with David Bowie who acted as well as sang the theme song of the movie.   Of her movies that I have seen, the one I didn’t like was the half of the musical, The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, that I watched.

“Belle de Jour Author [Dr.] Brooke Magnanti Insists She was a Call Girl”, https://www.telegraph.co.uk. The doctor had a blog before she wrote the book and had the successful television show, “Secret Diary of a Call Girl” produced.

On January 10, 2018, www.usatoday.com issued a video about Catherine Deneuve and 100 other women, including female writers, performers, and academicians, who put an article in the French publication Lamonde, denouncing the #MeToo movement as puritanical and fueled by hatred of men, following the Harvey Weinstein scandal.    She classified what happened to the women as flirting.

But, Catherine, there is a huge difference between flirting, molestation, and rape.   I am sure there are men supporting the #MeToo movement, also.   Catherine Deneuve has worked with various directors such as Francois Truffaut, Luis Bunuel, and Roman Polanski.   And, remember, Roman Polanski fled the United States in 1978 because he was wanted for rape.   Instead of “Where’s Waldo?”, officials should be searching for Roman.

Written by Rosa L. Griffin

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Review of MOVIE Water in a Broken Glass by Odessa Rose

Baltimore City, Maryland, is one of the stars of Ms. Rose’s brand new movie, Water in a Broken Glass which premiered at York Road’s Senator Theatre on Thursday, March 1, 2018, at 7 p.m.    Those familiar with our city will certainly recognize the beauty of some of its neighborhoods and streets with which Director Jamelle Williams-Thomas surrounded the audience.

The movie was extremely true to the book except for Tonya’s occupation.  In the book she was a sculptor, but in the movie she is a painter.   Tonya, as portrayed by Billie Krishawn, kept her love life at a distance since the young woman’s love she would not acknowledge in high school.   Tonya has to build a showing of her paintings to earn a monetary contract.   So, of course, love comes along to disrupt everything.   Her potential love life will become a big distraction to her work.

She meets handsome, larger-than-life accountant, Malcolm, who is looking for love after a break-up, played by the dimpled, reasonably muscled and tattooed Wes Hall.   Malcolm is fun to be with and quietly magnetic and Tonya thinks she’s in love.

Who comes into Tonya’s life next but the cultured and sophisticated older woman, Satin, played by Toni Belafonte.  Satin is a bookstore owner who knows about art, and is on her way out of her current relationship with Robin, played by Lee Avant.    To complicate matters further, Meyoki, an old flame from high school who Tonya refused to acknowledge comes back into her life for one evening of dancing.    Meyoki is portrayed by Shani Ashley Francillon.   Tonya has to wrestle with old yearnings that she thought were out of her life.   By this time, Tonya probably thought she was in love with three different humans.

Billie Krishawn was absolutely believable as Tonya.   She played the confused young woman who doesn’t know who she wants with compassion.  In a way, Tonya hopes to keep both Malcolm and Satin.

Tonya’s Aunt Jo, played by veteran and award-winning actress, Victoria Rowell, was wonderful in helping Tonya see what she was doing in her love life.    Best friend, Nikki, played by Candiace Dillard, also had Tonya’s back.   By the time Tonya realized what she really wanted, she felt she couldn’t have it because it had been taboo all her life.

The audience was laughing and talking back to the screen often in nearly a standing-room only crowd.   I dare say that many in the audience could identify with Tonya’s dilemma of confusion in finally deciding who to stay with.   I’m also glad that Wes Hall’s character Malcolm did not have to hit a wall breaking his hand like his character did in Ms. Rose’s original book after Tonya broke up with him.

I was also fascinated with the variety of natural hair styles and interesting outfits that Toni Belafonte’s character Satin wore in the movie.

I would love to see the movie again.   Ms. Rose’s movie was worth coming out for on a cold and rainy night.

Written by Rosa L. Griffin

 

Review of Movie The Shape of Water

Guillermo del Toro has gone to the heights of fantasy and love in his new movie, The Shape of Water.  He directed and co-wrote the script for this adult Grimm’s fairy-tale-like story of interspecies love.   There is full frontal female nudity and violence.   The special effects are wonderful.   The movie begins with everything in Elisa’s room floating underwater with her napping on the sofa as if she lives underwater.   However, this was more a movie about bullying.

Sally Hawkins plays as Elisa Esposito who is one of many cleaners of the military labs at a base in 1962 Baltimore.   She delivers a heartfelt performance of a mute woman whose signing can’t always be interpreted to her satisfaction.   Elisa starts a relationship with the creature simply by being kind.  She imagines the Amphibian Man could exist in a world where all creatures are accepted.  Also, I did notice that none of the lab cleaners at the military base wore gloves in what could have been very contagious circumstances—blood, pus, etc.  But, there is a secret about Elisa that I will leave to you to find out by watching the movie.

Doug Jones plays the Amphibian Man, who, like “The Creature from the Black Lagoon”, gets a bad rap for being himself.   The creature was where he was supposed to be.   It’s not an attack when you’re in his turf.  However, his novelty would be worth millions in the right hands.   The very sexy and majestic creature is considered a monster especially when he gets mad, rips out a throat, and tears off a few fingers where before he was only trying to communicate with the humans.  Amphibian Man is bullied and tortured daily by Strickland.   His only fault was to get captured in South America.

Octavia Spencer plays Zelda Fuller, a cleaner of the labs who interprets Elisa’s sign language for others.   Zelda didn’t bully anyone.   However, her husband (played by Martin Roach) did not go to see who was at the door at night nor did he defend her in any way when she was attacked in her own home by Strickland.

Richard Jenkins (one of my favorite actors who adds to any movie in a supporting role) plays Giles, the unstereotypical gay man, talented in art, but who probably lost a cushy job because of his sexual persuasion.   Giles is looking for love and attracted to young men who are not attracted to him (Morgan Kelly as the Pie Guy).   Giles was bullied twice.  First, by being made to produce art work unpaid in hopes of getting his job back, so he was afraid to help Elisa with the Amphibian Man.  And, secondly, even mute Elisa, his best friend, grabbed Giles by the collar in frustration of his not getting the full impact of her signed argument.

Michael Shannon plays Richard Strickland—a man in a prison of his own making and the biggest bully of all.  He is the newly appointed military project head who even put the security chief (David Hewlett as Fleming) out of his own office.   Even in sex with his wife (Lauren Lee Smith), he is vicious and doesn’t like the sounds that women make during sex.   I believe he doesn’t like women at all, and he is the kind of guy who is unlikely to have friends.   He has worked toward the status quo of getting a job in which he can advance, getting married, owning a home, and having children (who seem to be invisible to him).  Strickland caused the most violence in the movie using cattle prods, guns, words, unsolicited touching, etc.  He was truly an “Ugly American”, the real monster.  His cruelty almost caused me projectile vomiting.  You see the horror but you can’t stop looking at it.  Strickland must have had a troubling childhood.

Michael Stuhlbarg plays as Dr. Robert Hoffstetler.  He gives a great performance as a man who is a humanitarian scientist torn in loyalty to both the Russian (Nigel Bennett as Milhalkov) and American (Nick Searcy as General Hoyt) governments who both let him down with their fatal decision to carve up the creature.   Hoffstetler is a good man with the best of intentions.

Cleaner Yolanda (played by Allegra Fulton) was always in a hurry to get home every morning, as the cleaners cleaned at night.

The secretary for the security department, Sally (played by Wendy Lyon) had a great many facial reactions to her new temporary supervisor’s actions.

Marvin Kaye was funny as the Russian bodyguard who ate wherever he went.

John Kapelos was great as the enthusiastic theater owner, Mr. Arzoumanian.

Written by Rosa L. Griffin

Music from the Magnificent Seven

A few days ago, I heard the soundtrack of the 1960 version of the movie, The Magnificent Seven, on WBJC (91.5), the local Baltimore, MD classical radio station. The music was composed by Elmer Bernstein. Just listening to the composition on the radio brought back the individual scenes in the movie. This old-West style movie was the re-make of Akira Kurosawa’s 1954 Japanese movie, Seven Samurai, and was nominated for an Oscar. The music was in parts humorous, adventurous, and tender, with Mexican beats.
The 1960 version was directed by John Sturges, and starred Yul Brenner, Steve McQueen, Charles Bronson, Horst Buchholz, James Coburn, Robert Vaughn (heroes), and Eli Wallach (villain). The heroes were trying to protect a village of Mexican farmers who couldn’t afford to hire them.
The newest version/remake was made in 2016 and directed by Antoine Fuqua. This version starred Denzel Washington, Chris Pratt, Ethan Hawke, Vincent D’Onofrio, Byung-Hun Lee, Manuel Garcio-Ruffo, and Martin Sensmeier. The villain was Peter Sarsgaard, who portrayed a robber baron and gold-mining tycoon who wanted to own all the land in the area. The music was composed by James Horner and Simon Franglen.

I liked each version of this movie–the hero theme, the actors–the fact that it was a western started it off right.   I like westerns.
http://www.time.com/4495410/magnificent-seven-1960-review/

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/American-frontier

Written by Rosa L. Griffin

 

Review of Diary of a Nymphomaniac

By Rosa L. Griffin

In the French movie with subtitles, Diary of a Nymphomaniac (2008), a young woman, Valerie (Belen Fabra),  “discovered” sex with a young single man.  And, with any new experience you enjoy, you want to keep partaking of it.  She thought she would stay with him forever, but he refused to keep up with her demands for sex.  Her second man was married and also refused to keep up with her needs.  So, she was labeled as a sex addict or nymphomaniac.

So, with her next man, she attempted marriage and discovered that he was a cruel drug addict, so the marriage was off.   Feeling that she may as well be what she was being labeled, Valerie turned to prostitution so that she could enjoy sex often.  However, she made the mistake of falling in love with a customer who was not in love with her.  She was definitely looking for love in the wrong place.

The most poignant scene in the brothel was her making love with a paraplegic who only had feelings in his hands.   However, she was treated very badly by another customer—her first anal rape by a scraggly old drunk—and her female madam tried to get her to take a dead female lover’s place.

Valerie had a great rapport with her grandmother to whom she could talk with any time about anything, played by Geraldine Chaplin, who spoke French fluently.

The bottom line is that Valerie was looking for love, not just sex.   She was not a nymphomaniac and did not have sex with anyone and everyone she met with no thought for the consequences—which is a loose definition of nymphomania.     I believe that you should pursue sex on your own terms, instead of settling for the first man or woman to come along.    But, how will you know unless you can experiment safely?

I disagree with IMDb (Internet Movie Database) that Valerie eventually found redemption in the version that I saw.    There was no need for redemption as she was, like men, experimenting with sex.   However, what she found was that she was responsible for her own decisions and could handle that responsibility.

P.S. Give foreign films a chance.   Yes, you have to read the subtitles, but most of them are worth taking the time.

Some interesting resources:

https://m.fictionpress.com/s/2034269/Memoirs-of-a-Nymphomaniac.   Delightful poem

www.xojane.com/it-happened-to-me/sex-addiction-more-than-just-a-bad-habit

https://theconversation.com/what-makes-a-woman-a-nymphomaniac-20306

http://www.toptenz.net/top-10-facts-about-nymphomaniacs.php

https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2016/may/07/confessions-of-a-menopausal-nymphmaniac-sex-dating-apps

Written by Rosa L. Griffin