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Au siècle de Maupassant: Contes et nouvelles du XIXème siècle: Le petit vieux des Batignolles (2009)
Entertaining murder mystery
Claude Chabrol is known for The French Alfred Hitchcock and I expected for a thriller, but this episode called "Le petit vieux des Batignolles" is humorous and entertaining. Pierre Arditi and Manuel Le Lièvre plays a couple of detective like Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson. Méchinet (Arditi), a chief police who likes disguise (but unlike Holmes, he's married) asks Godeuil (Le Lièvre), a young medical student, to help him in an investigation on a murder of a hairdresser in Batignolles, Paris. The prime suspect is the victim's nephew. The victim wrote his murderer's name with his blood and the nephew himself confesses. However, Méchinet believes something is wrong.
If you want to watch how detectives work in light atmosphere, here it is.
French style of Agatha Christie's
I guess this series was made following the success of "Petits meurtres en famille", which is, the best movie version of Hercule Poirot's Christmas I've ever seen. To lead the investigation, instead of Hercule Poirot or Miss Marple, we have here Commissaire Jean Larosière (Antoine Duléry - who I think looks like Robert De Niro) and his subordinate Inspector Lampion (Marius Colucci), who shows a homosexual tendency. In Petits meurtres en famille, Larosière - Lampion remind me of funny detective couple in Les 4 as, where the subordinate shows high respect to his idiot superior; but in this series, Commissaire Larosière is not that stupid anymore and he really does his share in solving the cases. The relation between the 2 is like father - son and each cannot live without the other.
British series based on Agatha Christie books are too faithful and we can see how the characters come alive like how they have been written. This French version is more free in the adaptation and therefore more interesting to watch.
L'amour dans le sang (2008)
Nice autobiography movie
A nice movie about the life of the French actress Charlotte Valandrey. Spotted by agent Dominique Besnehard in the 80's, Anne-Charlotte Pascal did a screen test and got a role in Red Kiss, which would won her The Silver Bear Most New Promising Actress in Berlin and a Cesar nomination. Her supposed-to-be bright future was ruined after she found out that she was HIV positive, infected by her musician boyfriend David Chapel. It was not easy for her to find job and boyfriend after that, but she finally got a role in a police TV series with Pierre Mondy (here he played himself) and a husband who received her as she was. One of the great moments in this movie was when Charlotte smiled happily when she saw the sign on the window, a sign which told her that this man still agreed to see her after knowing she was HIV-positive. Aurore Paris who plays young Charlotte is very pretty, a treat for the eye. This is a worth-to-watch autobiography movie about the struggle of an actress, how she convinced her parents that working at cinema was better than getting a school degree, her fight against her illness, which culminated in a heart transplant in 2003, while carrying on to work as an actress.
Set in the 20th century, in a little mountain village in Swiss Valais region. A group of farmers, lead by Joseph who needs money to marry his girlfriend, decide to brave an age-old curse and to take their flocks to graze up on the high pastures of Sasseneire. Although the grass is much richer, Sasseneire are rumored to be cursed. Two decades before, another group of farmers paid a high price: their cows fell ill, some farmers died and others lost their minds.
The location is beautiful. Barthélémy, who belongs to the older generation, accompanies Joseph and his friends, but in Sasseneire terrifies them with his stories. As time goes by, it seems the new group will have the same fate as before.The horror is underlined with the sound effect. In all, this movie is worth watching and don't miss it if it is shown in your local channel.
Le piano oublié (2007)
Nice little movie
There is nothing special about the plot, but the movie flows beautifully and at some points it is very touching. Little Julien loves to play piano, but his father doesn't like the idea and wants him to help him at the printing house. One day, in an abandoned steel-house, Julien finds an old piano and an old man called Benjamin, a Jewish who has lost his wife and parents in Auschwitz, agrees to teach him. His friend Rosine, becomes his alibi. Rosine tells Julien's parents they are studying together, while in fact he is taking the piano lesson. Later Julian hears rumors that it was his grand-father who reported Benjamin and his family to the militia. The ending is beautiful and makes this a nice show to watch for the whole family.
Ondes de choc (2007)
This series is divided into 6 episodes. A chemicals plant in a small town in the south of France explodes, causing several deaths and serious injuries. Unfortunately on the fatal day, a group of children happen to visit the factory. An inquiry is started to identify who is responsible. Every episode shows a look back at the disaster, through the eyes of six different people. It's interesting and of course only in the last episode we learn who is the culprit. I must say that the conclusion is not very satisfying and it seems it ends too fast.
My favorite is episode 5, where Clément, one of the students who visits the factory on that day, thinks that it is him who has caused the explosion.