Tag Archive: Côte d’Azur


Cannes 70 ~

The 70th International Cannes Film Festival has come to an end. Unlike previous years, I couldn’t follow the festival properly this year, due to various reasons [well, the country is submerged in water for one thing; although the weather alone, in it’s entirety, is not to blame for it. The way the drainage systems here are built, covered with heavy cement slabs, there is no place for the water to go/seep through, but get stuck within the country, like a massive tank (added to which, there is a land mass being constructed into the ocean, in Colombo, which was on a standstill for way over two years, as the governments changed; and now they’ve restarted working on the stupid project). The way this country has gone to ruins, in every way possible, I wouldn’t be surprised if the whole country drowns into the bottom of the ocean, some day (fine, that’s a bit of an exaggeration; or is it?). Of course the monsoon rains and landslides are to blame too. Sadly a number of lives were lost, not just humans, but innocent animals, including cats and dogs, getting stuck in these drainage systems, and drowning. Many of these animals are ill treated in this inhumane country, as it is; but specifically on days like these, innocent animals suffer the most. People somehow manage to find food and shelter. Especially from aid, not only from us, from other countries, as well. Of course, Sri Lanka is not the only country facing a tragedy at the moment. What happened in Manchester, UK, and Beni Suef, in Egypt, are just as tragic]. But on a brighter note getting back to the Cannes Film Festival, this year. It wrapped up last night. And I patiently waited, till past midnight, in this watered down land, of this side of the ocean, to hear the results, on FRANCE24. And at 12 mid-night, the news started with it’s Encore at Cannes, special; with Lisa Nesselson and Eve Jackson announcing the great winners at Cannes 2017.

Cannes 70 ~ Palme d’Or – Gold palm leaf sprinkled with Diamonds

The Palme d’Or, this year, was a special trophy, with the Golden Palm decorated in snow speckled drops of diamonds on the leaf. This beautiful award went to, Swedish film director, Ruben Östlund’s, The Square (2017). Loosely based on Östlund’s own experiences, this Swedish film is about an Art curator, who is mugged, and decently hunts for the perpetrator, ending up in situations that make him question his own moral compass. The ‘Best Actor’ and ‘Best Actress’ awards, went to two Hollywood stars; Joaquin Phoenix, for the English language film, You Were Never Really Here (2017), and Diane Kruger, for her native, German movie, Aus dem Nichts (2017), a.k.a. In the Fade. The Grand Prix, the second-most prestigious honour, went to the French film, 120 Battements par Minute (2017), in English, known as, 120 Beats per Minute. Directed by Moroccan born, Robin Campillo; 120 Battements par Minute, also took home three more awards, including the Queer Palm. Sofia Coppola bagged the ‘Best Director’ award, for  The Beguiled (2017). ‘Best Screenplay’ was tied in; for Greek screenwriters, Yorgos Lanthimos and Efthymis Filippou, for The Killing of a Sacred Deer (2017); and Scotland, UK’s Lynne Ramsay, for You Were Never Really Here. The Russian drama, Нелюбовь (2017), English title, Loveless, directed by Andrey Zvyagintsev, won the Jury Prize. A special 70th Anniversary Prize was given to Nicole Mary Kidman, who had four releases at Cannes this year.

Another year of the chic n’ classy Cannes, came to a cool finish, and I can’t wait to check out these films that made it to this fashionable festival, in the French Rivera. Love the Côte d’Azur. ❤

Nuwan Sen’s Film Sense

And for more…..let the pictures below, do the talking!!!!

Cannes 70 ~ Palme d’Or – Gold n’ Diamonds

Cannes 70 ~ Palme d’Or – Ruben Östlund

Cannes 70 ~ Palme d’Or – Diane Kruger

Cannes 70 ~ Palme d’Or – Joaquin Phoenix (with Jessica Chastain)

Cannes 70 ~ Italian Actress, Monica Bellucci & President of the Jury, Spanish Film Director, Pedro Almodovar, walk on the stage, at the opening ceremony,of the 70th International Cannes Film Festival

Cannes 70 ~ Catherine Deneuve (Then & Now)

Cannes 70 ~ Robert Pattinson

Cannes 70 ~ Cool n’ Classy: Marion Cotillard, Louis Garrel & Charlotte Gainsbourg

Cannes 70 ~ Adèle Haene of 120 Battements par Minute (2017)

Cannes 70 ~ Director Sofia Coppola, with the cast of The Beguiled (2017)

Cannes 70 ~ Sonam Kapoor in Gold n’ Diamonds

Cannes 70 ~ Indian Film Actress n’ Fashionista, Sonam Kapoor

Cannes 70 ~ Julianne Moore

Nuwan Sen (NSFS)
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…AND THE WINNERS  are …

Ken Loach wins the Palme d’Or for I, Daniel Blake (2016)

Ken Loach wins the Palme d’Or for I, Daniel Blake (2016)

The Cannes Film Festival, for the Year of the Sweets, finally came to an end, last night. Like a true film fanatic/movie maniac/Cinema enthusiast; I stayed awake past midnight, on this side of the planet, to see who won the Palme d’Or, Grand Prix, et al, at Cannes, this year; on a special feature on the news channel, FRANCE24.

Xavier Dolan wins the Grand Prix for Juste la Fin du Monde (2016)

Xavier Dolan wins the Grand Prix for, Juste la Fin du Monde (2016)

Ken Loach won the Palme d’Or for the British film, I, Daniel Blake (2016); which happens to be Loach’s second Palme d’Or; and young Xavier Dolan won the Grand Prix for the Canadian movie, Juste la Fin du Monde (2016)!! The Palme d’Or (a.k.a. Golden Palm) is the highest honour at the Cannes Film Festival; and French New Wave actor, Jean-Pierre Léaud, received an honorary Palme d’Or, this year, for his contribution, to the world of Cinema. Grand Prix (a special jury award), is the second most prestigious award of the festival. The Pame d’Or, initially was known as the Grand Prix du Festival International du Film, and at one time, as the Grand Prix du Festival; which should not be confused with the modern day Grand Prix. The Grand Prix, itself was once known as Grand Prix Spécial du Jury, and later as Grand Prix du Jury. Both the Palme d’Or and Grand Prix, are awarded to the film directors, for what is considered the best movie, for the year. The ‘Best Director’ award, was a tie, this year. Romanian director, Cristian Mungiu; for Bacalaureat (2016); and French film director, Olivier Assayas; for the English language movie, Personal Shopper (2016); tied in for the ‘Best Director’ award. Iranian director, Asghar Farhadi, took home the award for ‘Best Screenplay’; for Forushande (2016). Iranian actor, Shahab Hosseini, bagged the prize for ‘Best Actor’; for the same movie; whilst Filipino actress, Jaclyn Jose, won the prize, for ‘Best Actress’; for Ma’ Rosa (2016). British filmmaker, Andrea Arnold, was awarded the Jury Prize (the third most highest honour, at the festival), for American Honey (2016).

The Late Nellie in Paterson (2016)

The Late Nellie in Paterson (2016)

Among other awards; the Un Certain Regard Award (for ‘Best Film’) and the Un Certain Regard Jury Prize, went to Finland’s Hymyilevä Mies (2016) by Juho Kuosmanen, and Japan’s Fuchi ni Tatsu (2016) by Kôji Fukada, respectively. The Queer Palm Award went to French director, Sébastien Lifshitz, for his documentary, Les Vies de Thérèse (2016). The L’Œil d’Or (or The Golden Eye), awarded to documentaries only, was given to, Brazilian Film Director, Eryk Rocha, for Cinema Novo (2016). The Palme Dog Award (awarded to the best performance by a canine), was posthumously awarded to, a female English Bulldog, the late, Nellie; for USA’s Paterson (2016) by Jim Jarmusch. In the movie, Nellie, stars as a male dog, named Marvin.

Cannes Sweet Year: Nathalie Baye, Xavier Dolan and Marion Cotillard, at the festival, on DAY-9

Cannes Sweet Year: Nathalie Baye, Xavier Dolan and Marion Cotillard, at the festival, on DAY-9

These are some of the main awards mentioned here. There are various other awards, at the Cannes Film Festival. So congratulations, to all the winners, of the 69th Cannes Film Festival. Year of the Sweets!!

I’d love to check out most of the films, shown at Cannes, this year. The only sad part for me was, Marion Cotillard didn’t receive any special recognition, for her work, this year. But this, 40 year old actress, is a superbly talented performer, and has won many accolades in the past, including at Cannes. And she no doubt shall, in the near future as well. At least, 27 year old film director, Xavier Dolan, won for Juste la Fin du Monde, which starred Cotillard. Dolan also won the Prize of the Ecumenical Jury, for the same movie, this year. Both Xavier Dolan and Marion Cotillard happen to be frequent faces at the Cannes Film Festivals, especially within the last decade. They are the future!!!!

All The Best!!!!!

Nuwan Sen’s Film Sense

P.S. Tweets relating to Cannes 2016

Nuwan Sen

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Marion Cotillard on Sunday evening, at the Cannes Film Festival

Marion Cotillard on Sunday evening, at the Cannes Film Festival

On Day 5, of the Cannes Film Festival, for the Year of the Sweets (i.e. yesterday), Nicole Garcia’s Mal de Pierres (2016); English title From the Land of the Moon, in the running for the prestigious Palm d’Or; was released. The movie stars, two of my favourite French stars, Marion Cotillard and Louis Garrel, in the lead. The 40 year old actress was glowing, in a simple gold slit dress, at the red carpet, yesterday, as she attended the premiere of Mal de Pierres.

Marion Cotillard & Louis Garrel, at the 69th Cannes Film Festival, yesterday evening

Marion Cotillard & Louis Garrel, at the 69th Cannes Film Festival, yesterday evening

I’ve been constantly on FRANCE24, checking out, as much as possible, to see what’s in store, at the Cannes Festival, this year. Last night, when I heard Mal de Pierres, was being shown, my heart sank, along with excitement though, for I wish I were there, in the French Riviera. My favourite film critic, of today, Lisa Nesselson, spoke about the movie with much enthusiasm, citing what great film this was. This is a movie, am really keen on checking out. Unfortunately I didn’t get to see, Cotillard walking the Red Carpet, neither late last night, nor today. But saw plenty of stills online. She looks Beautiful!!

Yesterday evening: Matt Bomer & Ryan Gosling, at the Cannes Film Festival

Yesterday evening: Matt Bomer & Ryan Gosling, at the Cannes Film Festival

Along with the French film, mentioned above, two American movies were also shown yesterday; Andrea Arnold’s, American Honey (2016); which is actually a British/American collaboration, starring Sasha Lane and Shia LaBeouf; and Shane Black’s, The Nice Guys (2016), with Russell Crowe, Ryan Gosling and Matt Bomer. Both sound quite interesting, as well as the previous movies that were shown at this years festival; opening with, Woody Allen’s, Café Society (2016), starring  Jesse Eisenberg, Kristen Stewart, Blake Lively and Steve Carell.
Cannes Sweet Year - DAY 6 (3 Movies)Today afternoon, I watched an interview on FRANCE24, with Aishwarya Rai, who is in Cannes, for the screening of her latest movie, Sarbjit (2016); which is a commercial Bollywood film, based on a true story.

Tonight, the gritty documentary, Hissein Habré: une Tragédie Tchadienne (2016) a.k.a. Hissein Habré: a Chadian Tragedy, by Mahamat-Saleh Haroun, from Chad, is to be shown; along with, Hell or High Water (2016) by British born director, David Mackenzie, Paterson (2016) by Jim Jarmusch, Loving (2016) by Jeff Nichols, Hands of Stone (2016) by Venezuelan director, Jonathan Jakubowicz; all American flicks; and the Singaporean movie, Apprentice (2016), by Junfeng Boo.

Nuwan Sen’s Film Sense

Today the Cannes Film Festival for 2016, begins!!
Cannes Film Festival 2016 (poster)The 69th Cannes Film Festival is scheduled to start today evening, and shall run till the 22nd of May, 2016. The festival has a really interesting selection of movies, by reputed directors, from around the globe, in store. Am really keen on checking out the highlights of the show, especially on FRANCE24, and to listen to Film-Critic, Lisa Nesselson’s insight into this year’s selection. Plus hopefully, sometime soon, I’ll get to check out the movies, being released, at this year’s, Cannes Film Festival.

Nuwan Sen’s Film Sense

3 years . 3 months . 3 weeks . 3 days

Bastille Day 2015 Header

3 years, 3 months, 3 weeks & 3 days; that’s exactly how old my Blog is today. I started this Blog on the 20th of March, Year 2012. Today is also Bastille Day, i.e. the National Day of France. So I thought, why not do something different today, that is relevant to both, my Blog, and the French republic, the largest country, in the western region, of the European continent.

So here is my foursome of 3’s (my favourites in each) in relation to this beautiful country, called France.

1st 3.
My trio of favourite hangouts in Paris
I first visited Paris, during my hectic one month Eurotrip of Spring 2005 (April 2005). Spent just one evening in Paris, at the time. Later I got a chance to live there, for almost a year, in 2008 & 2009. I fell deeply in love with the City of Love, the most beautiful concrete jungle I’ve ever lived in.

(i)  The Champs-Élysées

Watching the Bastille Day parade, Bastille Day ((14th July 2008) The Champs-Élysées, Paris

Watching the Bastille Day parade, On Bastille Day (14th July 2008)
Champs-Élysées, Paris

At the Virgin Bookshop  (an Old underground bank vault that has been turned into a bookstore) Champs-Élysées, Paris (August 2009)

At the Virgin Bookshop (an Old underground bank vault, that has been turned into a bookstore) Champs-Élysées, Paris (August 2009)

With a French friend (I befriended in Sydney), in front of one of the Gaumont cinemas, at the Champs-Élysées, in Paris (8th September 2009) The night before I let Paris, France. Haven't returned since.

With a French friend (I befriended in Sydney, Australia), in front of one of the Gaumont cinemas, at the Champs-Élysées, in Paris (8th September 2009)
The night before I left Paris, France. Haven’t returned since.

I loved hanging out around the Champs-Élysées, such a beautiful location, with it’s wide walkways, lined up with trees, leading up to the Arc de Triomphe. Especially being a film buff I was a frequent visitor to the Champs-Élysées, whilst living in Paris, for there are two Gaumont Cinemas, on either side of the broad boulevard. Got to watch some great European & Hollywood films. I went to the cinemas near the Palais Garnier (Opera House), as well. Another beautiful spot, with the Opera House, and the Galeries Lafayette (a posh department store) et al. But I love the whole atmosphere, and the feel, with the hustle and bustle of the walkways, of the Champs-Élysées. On 14th July 2008, I went to watch the Bastille Day parade, at the Champs-Élysées as well.

(ii) Along the River Seine

Along the River Seine, Paris (September 2008)

Along the River Seine, Paris (September 2008)

Along the River Seine, in Paris (August 2009)

Along the River Seine, in Paris (August 2009)

Along the River Seine, Paris (August 2009)

Along the River Seine, Paris (August 2009)

Being a romantic at heart, I can just lose myself walking along the River Seine. It’s just so beautiful, with all those old bridges, ancient brick roads, aesthetically appealing historic architecture, on either side of the river, passing tiny avenues, and the old street vendors, selling old books and souvenirs of Paris, and the fresh clean air. Best to walk alone along these streets, to enjoy oneself. Just get lost in yourself, it’s Poetic Justice, in a positive sense, that is. It’s pure heaven!!!!!

(iii) The Louvre

At the Egyptian Gallery The Louvre, Paris (July 2008)

At the Egyptian Gallery
Louvre, Paris (July 2008)

Under the Glass Pyramid  With my sister, and her husband, when they visited Paris (Spring 2009) The Louvre, Paris (April 2009)

Under the Glass Pyramid
With my sister, and her husband, when they visited Paris (Spring 2009)
Louvre, Paris (April 2009)

With a self-portrait of Eugène Delacroix Louvre, in Paris (May 2009)

With a self-portrait of Eugène Delacroix
Louvre, in Paris (May 2009)

Being an artist as well, I’ve visited this famous museum only four times (it’s free every first Sunday of the month). And yet I never got a chance to complete every nook and corner of this beautiful building, in itself, not to mention, the well maintained, collection of art work from around the globe. The Louvre is my second favourite, yet most visited, Museum in the French capital. My favourite museum happens to be Musée d’Orsay, but I’ve only visited it twice. And I’ve visited other various Art Galleries and Museums in Paris as well. Thus, not just the Louvre, but I can say that the Parisienne museums in the general sense, could be another great hangout, but it’s specifically the Louvre, I enjoyed hanging out in the most, even though I love the Musée d’Orsay more.

2nd 3.
My trio of all time favourite French Films

(i) Jules et Jim (1962)
Jules et Jim (Special Post on France) 3-3-3-3 Photographic PosterMy all time favourite piece of French cinema. Directed by François Truffaut, and starring Jeanne Moreau, Oskar Werner, and Henri Serre, this French New Wave classic, is also among my TOP-10 all time favourite movies. An epic saga spanning over 3 decades, happens to be one of my favourite tragic romances ever. Truffaut was a genius. An excellent love triangle, involving two best friends (an Austrian & a Frenchman), both of whom fall for the same French beauty, with a serene looking smile.
Also see my lists The Essential 60’s (Top 60) (pictorial tribute) and Why I love …. (list of critiques), from January 2012, and November/December 2012, respectively, on IMDB.

(ii) Les Enfants du Paradis (1945)
Les Enfants du ParadisOne of the most beautiful epics ever made. Les Enfants du Paradis, directed by Marcel Carné, made with great difficulty during the second World War, and set in the backdrop of the French Theatre during the 19th century, is France’s answer to America’s Gone with the Wind (1939).
Also see my post Children of Paradise: The French Epic from last year (July 2014).

(iii) Les Parapluies de Cherbourg (1964)
Les Parapluies de CherbourgOne of my favourite musicals ever. Directed by Jacques Demy, this romantic 60’s movie, set in the late 50’s, is about a young unmarried pregnant girl, separated from her lover (who’s gone to fight for the French, during the Algerian war), having no news of his whereabouts, she has to come to a crucial decision for the wellbeing of her unborn child. Love this classic. Love Catherine Deneuve!!!!
Also see my post Being mesmerised by ‘The Umbrellas of Cherbourg from August 2013.

3rd 3
My trio of favourite holiday destinations, in France (outside Paris)

(i) The French Riviera (Côte d’Azur)

Beaulieu-sur-mer, South of France  (July 2009)

Beaulieu-sur-mer, South of France (July 2009)

Beaulieu-sur-mer, South of France (July 2009) On the way to Monaco

Beaulieu-sur-mer, South of France (July 2009)
On the way to Monaco

On Bastille Day (14th July 2009) Villefranche-sur-mer, South Of France

On Bastille Day (14th July 2009)
Villefranche-sur-mer, South Of France

Of course, the most beautiful warm holiday resort I’ve ever been to. With it’s rocky mountains, pebbled beaches and luxurious backdrops, the French Riviera is a class apart. Very expensive though, I practically starved. But unlike Paris, where I loved living in, I cannot see myself residing in the Côte d’Azur. I’ll miss the city too much. But it’s no doubt a perfect holiday resort, to take some time off, and just chill. Next time, if and when, I get a chance to visit the south of France again, I should have a load of money saved up, so that I don’t end up poverty ridden by the end of it.

(ii) Le Mont Saint-Michel

Mont St. Michel, Normandy (September 2008)

Mont St. Michel, Normandy (September 2008)

In front of the chapel, on top of Mont St. Michel, in Normandy (September 2008)

In front of the Chapel, on top of Mont St. Michel, in Normandy (September 2008)

Inside Mont St. Michel, Normandy (September 2008)

Inside Mont St. Michel, Normandy (September 2008)

Off the northern coast of France, in Normandy, is an island entirely made up of a steep granite hill, with a black clay based beach, surrounding it. One of the most beautiful ancient citadels I’ve ever visited. Mont St. Michel, is part of the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites.

(iii) Giverny

Claude Monet's Garden  Giverny, France (August 2008)

Claude Monet’s Garden
Giverny, N. France (August 2008)

Claude Monet's Home & Gardens Giverny, N. France (August 2008)

Claude Monet’s Home & Gardens
Giverny, N. France (August 2008)

With a Classic Sports Car Giverny, N. France (August 2008)

With a Classic Sports Car
Giverny, N. France (August 2008)

Being an artist, how can I not mention Giverny, where the late Impressionist Artist, of the 19th & early 20th century, Claude Monet’s, house and gardens are located. A must see for any artist, florist and anyone with a sense, or even a tiny streak, of artistry, in them. Also a must see for artists, are Monet’s paintings housed at the Musée d’Orsay (mentioned earlier) – an old railway station, that existed from the beginning of the 20th century up to the late 1930’s, and transformed into, primarily, an impressionist Art Gallery, in Paris, in the 1980’s

Last (4th) 3.
My trio of favourite, French born, French film stars

(i) Catherine Deneuve
Catherine DeneuveBeen a fan of hers, since like ever. This 71 year old actress is no doubt my all time favourite French celebrity. Having started her cinematic journey in the late 50’s, Deneuve had two film releases this year, and has no plans of retiring from the film industry, any time soon.

(ii) Alain Delon
Alain DelonI first discovered the existence of Alain Delon, at the turn of the century. Since then have seen quite a lot of, this 79 year old star’s, great movies; and have loved him, in everything I’ve seen him in. But I haven’t really watched any of his movies, he’s acted in, in his old age. His last film appearance, so far, was in 2012.

(iii) Marion Cotillard
Marion Cotillard (Special Post on France) 3-3-3-3Back in 2007, whilst living in Sydney, I watched the film Love Me If You Dare (2003), when it was shown on a local channel there. I thought she looked beautiful, and she was a good actress, and the film was really good as well, and that was that. Then mid-2007, the Édith Piaf bio-pic, La Vie en Rose (2007), starring Marion Cotillard, in the lead, as Piaf, was released, in Australia. I went to watch it, ‘cause I’ve been a fan of Édith Piaf’s beautiful song, ever since I watched Audrey Hepburn’s rendition of Piaf’s La Vie en Rose in Sabrina (1954), when I was a teenager, back in 1994, whilst living in New Delhi, India. By the turn of this century, I was aware who Édith Piaf was. Thus Piaf was my motivation behind watching La Vie en Rose, and not Cotillard. But Cotillard did such a brilliant job, she was Piaf incarnate. I was instantly hooked by her brilliant performance, and Cotillard became my favourite French movie star from 21st century. Born in 1975, she’s my age, practically (she’ll turn 40 later, in September, this year). At the Oscars, in 2008, she bagged the ‘Best Actress’ trophy for her role in La Vie en Rose. Returning home from work, I just managed to switch on the television to see her name being announced as that year’s winner. I was delighted. And since then I’ve see quite a few of her movies, both from France and Hollywood. Am really keen on checking out her most recent, British venture, Macbeth (2015), where she plays Lady Macbeth, and which was released at the Cannes Festival a couple of months ago (May 2015). Also see my write-up, paying tribute to Édith Piaf, Édith Piaf: 50th Death Anniversary, from a couple of years ago.

So here you are, my foursome of 3’s, honouring my 3 years, 3 months, 3 weeks & 3 days, of blogging, till date, as well the French National day, in my own way.

Nuwan Sen’s Film Sense
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Nuwan Sen and the French Republic

 

It’s pure Sex on the Beach. Not literally, but the seascape, south of the Italian Riviera, beckons and seduces, the cast, along with the audience, into it’s balmy bright waters. The premise of the entire movie is a lusty seaside adventure, set in the stylish holiday resort, away from the Côte d’Azur.
Il Compleanno Beach 2A Quick Synopsis
On the beach strip, below Mount Circeo, four friends (two couples), are on a summer vacation. Then the son, of one of the couples’, shows up, which stirs up repressed desires, in the husband (a father himself – of a little girl) of the other, seemingly, more happily married couple.

The Two Couples on Holiday: Maria de Medeiros, Massimo Poggio, Alessandro Gassman & Michela Cescon

The Two Couples on the Beach Holiday: Played by (L-R) Maria de Medeiros, Massimo Poggio, Alessandro Gassman & Michela Cescon

The Beach Birthday Party    
David (played by Brazilian born, model & actor, Thyago Alves), a college student, studying in the states, joins his parents, Shary (Michela Cescon) and Diego (Alessandro Gassman), on their beach holiday, in Italy, to celebrate his upcoming 18th birthday, with them. His parents’ close friends, Matteo (Massimo Poggio) and his wife Francesca (Maria de Medeiros), are vacationing with them. Matteo, has known David, as a child, and even carried him in his arms. But when they meet now, David is all grown up, with a well sculpted physique to match. It’s lust at first site for Matteo, and he’s dying to see the, already, half naked, birthday boy, in his complete birthday suit, to it’s entirety.

The Seductive Beach
The movie starts off with the four friends at the Opera, watching Richard Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde, a tragic opera, set within the backdrop of the ocean. This beginning, itself, hints at the premise of the movie, in relation to ‘forbidden love’, and it’s consequences.

Thyago Alves in Il Compleanno (2009)

Thyago Alves in Il Compleanno (2009)

Soon the son arrives, and we start seeing the seeds of the, so called ‘forbidden love’, in this scenario, take root. The character of David, the college student, who also happens to be an underwear model (much to his father, Diego’s, dismay), is mostly seen walking around shirtless. Which only adds to the seduction of poor Matteo. Added to which the camera loves this shirtless wonder, just as much as the scenic Italian beaches. Both beautiful, yet could be tragic, if one ventures in too deep. The scene where Matteo is walking in the beach, unaware that David has gone for a midnight swim, is pure seduction. The dark midnight blue waters are mesmerizing, and out comes a wet David, all of a sudden, like a Greek god, a young Poseidon himself. The scene is spot on, sexualising the ocean, as a lusty element. The ocean is mostly showcased in the day time, in the sizzling heat; thus the wet Adonis figure, emerging onto the beach in the middle of night, adds to the fizz of the sizzle. Especially as Matteo is enamoured, by this, perfectly sculpted, statuesque beauty, akin to Michelangelo’s ‘Statue of David’.

The climax scene (pun intended); with Matteo and David, finally breaking out of their sexual repression, and getting intimate; and the tragic Operatic ending; killing off an innocent; is heart rendering. This sequence, of impending doom, is perfectly shot, with Wagner’s music in the background. In the finalé, the camera zooms onto the glittering ocean, just before the credits roll in.
Il Compleanno Beach 3Il Compleanno (2009), is a visually stunning movie, capturing the beauty of the ocean. With it’s purple hues in twilight, to the midnight blues, sizzling and sexual, and the golden waters under the setting sun. There is no real significance, as such, of the representation of the ocean, to go into deep analysis, here; but the picturisation, the cinematography, how the seascape is filmed, is just breathtaking.

Il Compleanno scene deuxA beautiful Italian movie, set in an equally beautiful Italian beach resort.

Nuwan Sen’s Film Sense

Beach Party Blogathon (June 2015
This post is my second, & final, entry for the Beach Party Blogathon, organised by Ruth of Silver Screenings and Kristina of Speakeasy (See my first entry, Beach Party Blogathon: The Significance of ‘The Beach’ in Hitchcock’s REBECCA (1940), from earlier this week)
Il Compleanno Beach 1Il Compleanno, might not be the best gay themed movie ever, but it definitely is still a brilliant piece of the cinema. I watched it some years ago, online. And I didn’t really get a chance to see it again. But the excellent shots of the sea, remained in my memory, enough to work on this post.
Beach party for Queer FilmA Big Thank you, once again, to Ruth and Kristina, for letting me be part of this interesting Blogathon. Enjoyed it to the utmost.

Cheers
Nuwan Sen

Last night I dreamt of the Ocean, with it’s fierce waves splashing against the humongous rocks, in the coastal county of Cornwall (with apologies to Daphne du Maurier).

Joan Fontaine & Laurence Olivier

Joan Fontaine & Laurence Olivier

Rebecca synopsis
Rebecca is dead, and we never see her throughout the movie/book. Yet, the essence of her presence, is felt throughout.

A widower, Maxim de Winter (Laurence Olivier) meets a naïve, nameless, paid companion (Joan Fontaine), to a rich socialite, Mrs. Van Hopper (Florence Bates), in Monte Carlo, Monaco, and the two get hitched.

Once their honeymoon comes to end, so does their stress free, romantic, happy life together, when they reach Manderley; de Winter’s ancestral home, in Cornwall. The spirit of his first/late wife is alive within every inch of the mansion, every brick and stone, and the household staff. Especially through the eerie Mrs. Danvers (Judith Anderson), the housekeeper.

Plus Rebecca’s death is submerged with a mysterious undertone.

One of the most interesting thing to note, about this story, a novel written by Daphne du Maurier, and adapted to the big screen by Alfred Hitchcock, is the fact that, the character of Rebecca, is non-existent, and the existing character of the second Mrs. De Winter (played by Fontaine), has no first name, and no née name (prior to marrying Maxim de Winter).
Rebecca Beach 3The Beach, the Ocean and the vast Seascape
The beach in the movie, is showcased as, being both, beautiful and frightening. Aesthetic and ferocious. Soothing and haunting.
Rebecca Beach 1The film begins, as does the novel, with the famous du Maurier line, “Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again”, which is now in ruins. And then the film flashes back, and we are in the French Riviera, with the sea waters beating up on the rocks, where a middle-aged man is standing on the edge of a cliff, staring, with lost look on his face, down at the ocean below, as if ready to jump. And a young woman, at once shouts, “Don’t!! Stop!!”. This is the first encounter of Mr. de Winter, and his future/second wife. So the couple’s first meeting itself is at a Beach resort, in Monaco. Soon the two start enjoying each other’s company, travelling around the beautiful costal stretch, of the Côte d’Azur. Yet, there are times he seems lost, especially when he speaks of Manderley. Once, she tries to change the subject, by speaking how warm and lovely the waters in the French Riviera are, and that in England it’s hard to imagine going for a swim, until June. Then, she mentions a man drowned once, unaware that Rebecca, Maxim de Winter’s first wife, supposedly was killed in a drowning accident, whilst sailing; which obviously only further agitates Mr. de Winter. In the beginning of the movie itself, we see how the sea is represented positively, as beautiful, breathtaking, scenic, warm and inviting; yet also in a negative light, associated with death, drowning and destruction.
Rebecca Beach 4After a quick civil marriage at the registrar’s office, we see them in Cornwall, post honeymoon, venturing towards Manderley. The young new Mrs. de Winter suddenly gets a chill, as if of impending doom. Once they enter the stone edifice/mansion, there is feeling of something very bleak and unpleasant within, and the entrance of the stoic housekeeper, Mrs. Danvers, has the young bride’s nerves on edge.

The newly married couple’s room is on the East Wing, that has never been used before, and has no view of the ocean. Whilst Maxim & Rebecca’s room, use to be in West Wing, with a view of ocean, and which, with it’s massive windows and ornately carved doors, happens to be the most beautiful room in the house. From here onwards Manderley’s beach is represented in an eerie, foreboding, manner. Cold and damp. A stark contrast to the warmth and pleasantness of the sunshine stretch of the classy French Riviera. But we do see hints, of the statuesque, elegance and beauty, of what Manderley once stood for. And the second Mrs. De Winter, tries her best to bring back those glory days, back to, the life of the very respectable, Maxim de Winter, and his beloved Manderley.

The scene where the newly weds go for a walk in the estate of Manderley; just after the visit of Beatrice (Gladys Cooper), Maxim de Winter’s sister, and her husband, Major Giles Lacy (Nigel Bruce); a stairway to the beach below is shown, and we see that Mr. de Winter is afraid of something. He doesn’t want to descend downwards (not just literally, but also neither does he want to lose his status and honour; thus his attachment to Manderley, despite everything; nor bring back his haunting memories, associated with this particular beach). Their dog, Jasper, gets loose, and the new wife runs behind it, and comes across an isolated and neglected cottage, which has gone to wreck and ruin. She meets Ben (Leonard Carey) a crazy man who keeps repeating, “she ain’t comin’ back is she”. An obvious reference to the disappearance/death of Rebecca. Maxim de Winter’s reluctance to come to the beach, his new wife’s meeting with Ben, and de Winter’s angry reproach, afterwards, towards his young wife, for going into the cottage; all accounts to the fact, there is something mysterious and secretive, in relation to this private beach of theirs.

The West Wing: The most beautiful room in Manderley

The West Wing: The most beautiful room in Manderley

Almost soon after this incident, the scene involving the West Wing, is again in relation to the sea. The room in which once Rebecca slept, with an admiringly cruel undercurrent, is showcased by Mrs. Danvers, to the new Mrs. De Winter. As if in a trance, Mrs. Danvers tells the new bride, to just listen to the sea, and how soothing it is. Just then a ferocious wave splashes onto a rock, echoing a loud roar of pain and power. Yet, this manipulation on the vulnerable second Mrs. de Winter, backfires, and we see her gain strength momentarily, and get rid of all of Rebecca’s belongings, in the morning room, stating, “I’m Mrs. de Winter now.”

This is the first instance, we see, of her coming out of her shell of fear. Yet, the conniving Mrs. Danvers reciprocates, by conning her into dressing up in a mid-19th century ballroom dress, worn by an ancestor of de Winter, for the upcoming costume ball. Unfortunately, Rebecca had worn the exact same dress, for the costume ball held, the year before. Which only agitates Mr. de Winter, and shock some of the already present guests. We hear Beatrice gasp, uttering the words, “Rebecca”, in horror.

Now comes the most interesting sequence. The twist in the tale. The shocking climax. The foggy morning, the sea finally reveals, all the secrets of the de Winter household. The night of the costume ball, when second Mrs. de Winter, confronts Mrs. Danvers, about the outfit; and as Mrs. Danvers tries to, hypnotically, get the new bride to commit suicide, by jumping off the windowsill in Rebecca’s room, in the west wing; suddenly fireworks flare up, awakening them, as if from a trance. A diver had discovered the wreck of Rebecca’s sailboat, resting below on the ocean bed. But what’s worse is, Rebecca’s body too, was discovered inside the boat. Then who was the woman, Maxim de Winter identified as being Rebecca’s dead body, washed ashore, the night she went missing?

Joan Fontaine & Judith Anderson in a scene from Rebecca (1940)

Joan Fontaine & Judith Anderson in a scene from Rebecca (1940)

The day of revelation, the day of reckoning, is finally here. The day after the costume ball dilemma. It’s early in the morning, it’s still very dark. Through the fog blanketed strip of the private Manderley beach; that Maxim de Winter, early on feared to tread on; the new Mrs. de Winter, goes looking for her husband. She meets Frank Crawley (Reginald Denny); loyal friend of her husband’s, and her confidant; on the way. He let’s her know about the discovery of the boat. She ultimately finds the ever brooding, Maxim de Winter, in a state of despair, in the neglected cottage, where she first met Ben. Here he reveals to her what really happened the night Rebecca was killed.

This is one of the most interesting sequences, in the whole movie. As Maxim de Winter, sums up the happenings of the night Rebecca died, to his second wife; there is no flashback scenes, no ghostly figure hanging around, no windows/doors, shutting/opening abruptly, no glass breaking, nothing. The camera pans the room; from the sofa, and the coffee table, with an ash tray filled with cigarette butts, towards the door, where Mr. de Winter is standing, re-capping the events of that ill-fated night; and we, the audience, imagine Rebecca in the room. It must take a genius like Alfred Hitchcock to make that possible.

Here we, along with Joan Fontaine’s character, find out that Rebecca, wasn’t a nice person, as everyone believed she was. In fact, she flirted and seduced, everyone around her. She wasn’t a faithful wife. And this cottage was her hideout, where she brought her lovers. She fooled everyone. And that particular night, she had conned Maxim de Winter, into believing she was pregnant, with the child of her wayward cousin, Jack Favell (George Sanders).

Though mostly faithful to the novel, this is one of the major areas in plot, that the movie, Rebecca, differs to that of the book, Rebecca, due to silly censorship rules, Hays Code, of the time, under William H. Hays. But despite that setback, Hays couldn’t ruin the movie, and in fact, Hitchcock’s Rebecca ended up being a masterpiece. I want give away the main difference in plot here. Most of you film, and literature, buffs would already know. But those who don’t. Read the Book. Watch the Movie.

The movie, then lets us know, how Mr. de Winter, carried the dead body of Rebecca, placed it inside the boat, drilled holes, opened up the seacock’s, and sent it to sink in the middle of the ocean, never too be found. Until, unfortunately, a diver accidentally did. But the recovery of the boat and the body, weren’t exactly a bad thing. For the lead characters discover a whole lot of other truths. Like the fact that Rebecca wasn’t pregnant at all, it was something else altogether. The new wife, who’s been living under the shadow, of the dead wife, suddenly matures and finds strength, and is able to support her husband. Specially now that she knows, that Maxim never loved Rebecca, she’s not afraid anymore. When there are no more secrets between the couple, their bond strengthens. It’s still a very tragic movie. Mrs. Danvers can’t handle the truth, or rather what she is made to believe to be true, and takes it upon herself, to make sure, the newer couple could never lead a happy life in Manderley.
Rebecca towards the endJust like the oceans ferocious waves, the roaring fires engulfing the beautiful mansion of Manderley; with the figure of Mrs. Danvers in the west wing, and the burning monogrammed ‘R’ (for Rebecca), on the silky satin négligée case; are beautifully captured. There is some excellent cinematography here, especially the way the beautiful interiors, of Manderley, are filmed. A masterwork of cinema, by a mastermind of aesthetics, suspense and intrigue.

Facts relating to Rebecca
Released in 1940, Rebecca was altogether nominated for 11 Oscars at the 13th Academy Awards held in February 1941, and won 2 Oscars. One for ‘Best Picture’ (back then known as ‘Outstanding Production’) and one for ‘Best Cinematography’ to George Barnes. This was the 1st and only win, for a Hitchcock film, and for American cinematographer, George Barnes. The Oscar ceremony of 1941, was the very first time, that the winners names remained a secret, until they were announced, just before they received the prestigious trophy. Filmed in Black & White, when Hollywood was going through a newly discovered obsession with colour, Rebecca, which was Alfred Hitchcock’s very first American film, is considered one of the Best Films, within the 120 year old history of Cinema. Plus, the character of ‘Mrs Danvers’ (played by Judith Anderson), is known as one of the best villainous roles ever. Rebecca is one of the rare movies, which has an interesting blend of varied genres, that explores, film noir, romance, mystery, psychological thriller, Gothic literary horror, incest, adultery, crime and drama. Yet, despite all those ingredients, it’s a movie, made in such a way, that’s it’s suitable for all ages.

Pure Excellence!!!!! Pure Cinema!!!!!

I wrote this post for the Beach Party Blogathon, organised by Ruth of Silver Screenings and Kristina of Speakeasy.

Hitchcock’s Rebecca (1940), considered the best adaptation of Daphne du Maurier’s famed 1938 novel, happens to be my favourite movie adaptation of a novel, that I have read. Hitchcock is superb in creating atmospheric dread, and none the better, as he does here. Especially using the natural elements, such as the vast ocean. Rebecca is among my Top-5 all time favourite movies ever.

Beach Party Blogathon (June 2015)
Beach party for RebeccaThank you Ruth and Kristina, for letting me be part of this interesting Blogathon. Thoroughly enjoyed it.

Cheers
Nuwan Sen