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Drama Movies

October 8 2018 Drama Movies Newsletter

“There are great leaders and directors like Jane Campion who have great dramatic characters for women that get strong performances, like "The Piano" for instance, or Nicole Kidman in "The Portrait of a Lady". Meryl Streep too, in "The Hours”...but it’s true across the Atlantic Marion hasn’t had great roles. Since she received an Oscar she wants to live the American adventure and this is legitimate because of the worldwide recognition that you get from it, but it’s true she hasn’t had the roles she was given in Europe.” Filmmaker Nicole Garcia discussing actress Marion Cotillard

Nicole Garcia directed Cotillard in her 2016 film "From the Land of the Moon" (the original French title is "Mal de Pierres"). One critic referred to the film as "hellishly insufferable". While it certainly is not Garcia's best effort, I would not go quite that far.

Cotillard plays a woman who feels straitjacketed by the 1950s provincial village culture in which she comes of age. She marries a suitor of her mother's choosing, who turns out to be an exceptional man. Regardless, Cotillard's character spends wasted decades yearning for a lost lover.

The husband is played by Spanish actor Alex Brendemuhl. His character in "From the Land of the Moon" is the antithesis of the Nazi Josef Mengele which Brendemuhl played to chilling perfection in "The German Doctor" (my review is posted on the Drama Movies site). My problem with "From the Land of the Moon" is that Brendemuhl's character is so appealing that Cotillard's obsession with the other man makes no sense. It rather reminded me of "That Forsyte Woman" (1949), in which the viewer is supposed to believe that Greer Garson would prefer Robert Young to Errol Flynn. I think both films are worth watching at least once - perhaps a double bill on the Movies Network "Saturday Night Love" series.

My full-length review this week features a silent film from Norway. I have to mention the fate of one of the actors in "Laila". His name is Henry Gleditsch and he was managing a theater in Trondheim when the Nazis invaded his country in 1940. Gleditsch actively resisted the Germans and, as a consequence, was executed in 1942. The restoration and preservation of silent films is important for numerous reasons. "Laila" is one of Norway's great achievements in silent film but its existence is also a tribute to a courageous man who defied the proponents of Fascism.

Here's the latest article from the Drama Movies site at BellaOnline.com.

Laila (1929) Film Review
"Laila" is an epic Norwegian melodrama that has been remastered and preserved for the ages. As "Laila" features a Norwegian heroine who is adopted by Lapp (Sami) parents, I compare this film with Amanda Kernell's "Sami Blood".


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Angela K. Peterson, Drama Movies Editor

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