'The New Girlfriend'
Indie darling Francois Ozon returns to the BFI London Film Festival for the third year in a row following 'In The House' (2012) and 'Jeune et Jolie' (2013). 'The New Girlfriend' (French language title: 'Une Nouvelle Amie') appears in this year's Official Competition, an adaptation of Ruth Rendell's short story of the same name, starring French stalwarts Anais Demoustier and Romain Duris.
Claire (Demoustier) and David (Duris) are respectively the best friend and husband of Laura (Isild Le Besco), who passes away in the film's opening. The duo are brought closer together through the death of Laura, as well as the need to care for the now fractured couple's newly born child. David's grief however is expressed in an unexpected manner and Ozon points his eye toward gender roles and the fluidity of sexuality. There's a sense of unpredictability throughout, which is sadly let down by the film's rushed and overly melodramatic conclusion.
'Goodbye To Language'
Jean-Luc Godard is rightfully heralded as an icon of cinema and a widely respected auteur, which is perhaps why his latest feature has been so charitably reviewed. 'Adieu au Langage', or 'Goodbye To Language' to English-language audiences, has some of the usual trademarks of arthouse and experimental cinema - black and white shots, foreign language, and an affected narrative - and one unusual aspect, in its use of 3D.
To say that the film has a narrative seems generous, although there is a semblance of a story between a man and woman, with a dog at its centre, and separately we witness fall out of what is assumed to be an off-screen murder. The use of 3D is affected also - somewhat headache inducing but occasionally interesting as scenes and characters transform due to the movement of the lens. One of the film's few other merits is that it is mercifully short at 70 minutes, although that failed to stop several viewers walking out of the screening I attended. 'Goodbye To Language' is provocative and challenging but ultimately unsatisfying.
'The New Girlfriend' and 'Goodbye To Language' both screen this evening at the 58th BFI London Film Festival. Find more info and purchase tickets to screenings at bfi.org.uk/lff.