Alex is posing for a clay sculptor for a bit of extra cash, during their session he discovers she is blind and sculpts from touch, rather than sight. After initial apprehension (and a joint) Alex loosens up and relaxes and lets the sculptor explore his body.
There is clearly a reference here to young men’s ‘fear’ of older women, I don’t mean a slightly older woman, I mean older women with wrinkles and grey hair. Clay beautifully constructs an image of the older woman being in total control, coercing Alex into submitting himself to her, and not in an unpleasant way, in fact the film is strangely relaxing and warm. Alex’s masculinity is on display, not visually, but his emotions and mental state, she can feel his thoughts and he bares his soul to her, even though he wasn’t expecting to. If youre interested in representation of gender on screen, check out Clay for a small glimpse into stereotypical gender roles and how they can be deconstructed…
Mademoiselle Kiki et les Montparnos (Kiki of Montparnasse)
Kiki of Montparnasse is a short animated biopic based on Kiki’s memoirs of her life. She started modelling, but then went into cartoon publishing and writing.
I am biased when it comes to French animations, there is a certain degree of pleasure no matter what the subject of the film is. Kiki is a ‘typical’ French animation which includes everything that you would expect, high art, nudity, café culture. Women in French cinema, particularly animation, are usually a celebration of everything feminine and taboos of womanhood. The French have an unusual fascination with class, Kiki starts out in an incredibly poor family, misbehaves at school and is caught as a teenager posing nude for an artist. The embrace of tragedy, blatant sexuality and class is always a bit of a guilty pleasure for me. It’s a beautiful little animation, and if your like me, a fan of everything French, then this will satisfy your cravings.
Les Lezards (The Lizards)
This short film looks at two men, one of whom is waiting to meet an internet date, in a sauna. They meet a few people, who come and go, offering their piece of mind on the men’s situation. I thought that it was a nice little film, exploring male insecurity and exposure. Internet dating also used to be confined to the darker corners of our digital world. And I think The Lizards shows both the taboo nature of internet dating and it’s social acceptability. The men in The Lizards are literally on show and vulnerable. Their insecurities as time goes on, come out, and the longer the internet date doesn’t show up, the insecurities are discussed and analysed.
It’s a good example of French film making, it’s shot in black and white, and is very beautiful to look at. The simplicity of the shots add to the exposing tone of the film but I ultimately enjoyed it and wanted to see more of the director’s (Vincent Mariette) work.
To see all the finalists for the My French Cinema festival check out their website for details of all the films in the festival, awards and news.
- French cinema starts to seduce UK audiences (theguardian.com)