French films review: April 2020

A critical eye on the latest ciné releases. This month: The Truth, and The Forgotten Prince

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The Truth, Hirokazu Kore-eda; 106 mins

Sometimes an acting giant bestrides the entire duration of a film so as to render all other performances ‘bit-parts’, no matter the calibre of the ensemble cast.

In this case it is the veritable grande dame of French cinema, Catherine Deneuve, who devours scenes, rendering even Juliette Binoche – herself no stranger to captivating audiences – a mere foil.

Hollywood star Ethan Hawke, too, plays second fiddle.

Perhaps Deneuve’s dominance is not surprising given that for this, his first feature film set outside Japan, arthouse director Hirokazu Kore-eda casts her in the role of a film star diva, Fabienne Dangeville, legendary and much-loved.

Yet as she publishes her memoir and embarks upon promotional activity in support of it, it is clear that she is particularly self-important and manipulative.

Her daughter Lumir (Binoche) and Lumir’s husband Hank (Hawke) are guests at her lavish home, the place where Lumir grew up. The memories evoked in Fabienne’s book, however, are far from the ones Lumir retains from childhood.

Deneuve as the unreliable narrator is absolutely magnetic. “I’m an actress,” she states frankly. “I won’t tell the naked truth, because it’s not interesting.”

Watch the trailer:

Also out:

The Lost Prince

Fantasy Omar Sy vehicle from about what happens when the stories a father tells his daughter before bed come to life.

Watch the trailer: