I find it annoying sometimes hearing people giggling over sappy or barely audible lines uttered by the protagonist or anyone in the film. I would often question myself if I missed something that was really funny to warrant the guffaw. Has my English listening skill deteriorated to such shameful level a simple funny line could escape me unnoticed? Or has my ability to grasp and comprehend sarcasm or irony turned rusty after years of overuse and abuse.
If I’m in the mood, I wouldn’t mind contributing my share to this senseless endeavor, laughing every now and then just so the person next to me feels that the humor is shared and that I am as intelligent as the idiot seated to my right.
But I am seldom in the mood for fake niceties and I seldom keep to myself my disdain for this imbecilic automatic laughing response. I blurt out, as loud as I can, my commentaries on breached movie house ethics to let these people, who giggle at the slightest effort of the protagonist on screen to crack a joke, know that laughing as if they have a secret understanding with the actors barring all other viewers, me including, is the summit of tastelessness.
I am not a self-proclaimed humor censor or a hater of laughing like that blind character in Umberto Eco’s The Name of the Rose, but I am not somebody who easily lets go a social faux pas without leaving a scathing remark, especially something as moronic as this anomaly in a movie theater.
I do not consider this yet as an annual ‘routine’, but I am very happy to have attended the French Film Festival two years in a row now. It’s its fifteenth year that is held in different parts of Metro Manila and Cebu. Sadly, this has yet to reach Iloilo.
This year, I was only able to see three films out of thirteen films that included Brillante Mendoza’s Lola, which I missed, but the spirit of those three films etched permanent marks on me.
La Graine et le Mulet and Welcome tackle the issue of migration and adjusting in a multicultural society while L’Heure d’ete’ fearlessly peers into the universality of Art, death, and the meaning of family. And how will I forget my favorite, Juliette Binoche, sporting a blond.
La Graine et le Mulet (The Secret of the Grain)
The film protrays life at the port via main character Monsieur Beiji, a 60-year-old divorcee with a complicated family. Despite his problems, he dreams of building his own restaurant, which surprisingly becomes the one thing that will bind his family together.
Director: Abdellatif Kechiche
Cast: Habib Boufares, Hafsia Herzi, Faridah Benkhetache, Abdelhamid Aktouche, Bouraouïa Marzouk, Cyril Favre, Alice Houri, Leïla D’Issernio, Abdelkader Djeloulli, Bruno Lochet, Olivier Loustau, Sami Zitouni, Sabrina Ouazani, Mohamed Benabdeslem, Hatika Karaoui, Henri Rodriguez, Nadia Taouil , Jeanne Corporon, Henri Cohen, Violaine Carné (de)
Bilal, a 17-year-old Kurdish youth, has traveled through the Middle East and Europe to join his girlfriend, who has recently emigrated to England with her family. But his journey comes to an abrupt end when he is stopped on the French side of the Channel.
Having decided to swim across, Bilal goes to the local swimming pool to train. There he meets Simon, a swimming instructor in the midst of a divorce. To impress his wife and win back her heart, Simon decides to risk everything by taking Bilal under his wing.
Director: Philippe Lioret
Cast: Vincent Lindon, Firat Ayverdi, Audrey Dana, Thierry Godard, Selim Akgül, Firat Celik, Murat Subasi, Olivier Rabourdin, Yannick Renier, Patrick Ligardes, Behi Djanati AtaÏ, Jean-Pol Brissart, Blandine Pélissier, Éric Herson-Macarel, Gilles Masson, Emmanuel Courcol, Jean-François Fagour, Jean-Paul Comart, Lazare Herson-Macarelle, Stéphane Butet, Carine Bouquillon, Philippe Gaulé, Fanny Drouin, Emmanuelle Dupuy, Derya Ayverdi
L’Heure d’ete’ (Summer Hours)
Two brothers and a sister witness the disappearance of their childhood memories when they must relinquish their family belongings to ensure their deceased mother’s succession.
Director: Olivier Assayas
Cast: Juliette Binoche, Charles Berling, Jérémie Rénier, Édith Scob, Dominique Reymond, Valérie Bonneton, Isabelle Sadoyan, Kyle eastwood, Alice de Lencquesaing, Emile Berling, Jean-Baptiste Malartre, Gilles Arbona, Éric Elmosnino, Marc Voinchet, Sara Martins, Christian Lucas, Philippe Paimblanc, Luc Bricault, Arnaud Azoulay
Information about the three films here were taken from www.spot.ph.