CINEMA / On cinema

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Krzysztof Kieslowski's Three Colours Red (below) doesn't open for a while, so there's no point in reviewing it in advance. However, having sat through a screening with an audience so smug it made the Tory party conference seem like a PG Tips ad, some points about French arthouse movies.

Why do those who moan about the formulaic nature of commerical product not notice that French flicks (even if directed by Poles) are much the same, if not in subject matter, then in tone and pretension? You'd think someone would have analysed the girl-woman with the puffy pout and permanently wet eyes (Beatrice Dalle, Emmanuelle Seigneur, Beart) and suggested that it was as much an imposed male sex fantasy as any Hollywood stereotype. You'd think someone would have pointed out that there was once a thing called New Wave cinema that broke the rules, defied good taste and excited and attacked the senses. It did not content itself with homilies about life and love and art (The Double Life of Veronique). Or fate: fate being the intellectual's substitute for cheap sentiment. This may satisfy the middlebrow yen for liberal humanism but achieves little else. Still, the affirmation of one's impeccable taste is what such safe, self-congratulatory work peddles. . . if one stooped to consider such low things.

Actually, I'll be a philistine and suggest that many of these films are as boring as they are long (La Belle Noiseuse). I'll even mention that for all the attention to 'real lives' and the psychological interior, most people don't go about muttering, 'My life is over. My life never began. You are my life. Goodbye.' Or, worse, perhaps some people do.

(Photograph omitted)

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