The Film Movement DVD of the 2018 drama "Nina" presents a compelling portrait of a woman contending with a perfect storm of conflicting emotions. This angst is particularly relatable during our seemingly never ending pandemic.
The film about the titular 30-something teacher facing professional and personal crises has five festival wins to its credit. These accolades include The Big Screen Award at the 2016 Rotterdam International Film Festival.
The following trailer provides a tantalizing tease as to the stylized eroticism of this film about love that is forbidden on a few levels.
In typical style for this type of film, writer/director Olga Chajdas initially divides the screen time in "Nina" between our unhappily married straight woman and younger free-spirited lesbian Magda. These worlds collide on the two women literally running into each other.
Magda arguably both is at the right place at the right time and could not have come along at a worse time as to her chance encounter with Nina. Magda and husband Wojtek are actively seeking a surrogate to help this inconceivable couple have a child.
The attraction that Nina feels toward Magda reflects the grass being greener on the other side in many senses. The latter is younger, cuter, freer, and embraces her attraction to women.
The honeymoon period for our central couple involves equal parts love and lust. The rude awakening includes Nina learning the awful truth, Magda experiencing heartache, and Wotjek getting a chance for what he considers apt revenge. One of the most insightful lines in the film relates to Nina expressing the nature of her love for Magda in the midst of all this trauma and drama.
The bigger picture this time is that a compulsion to conceal, don't feel can result in that repression erupting in ways that have a tremendous ripple effect. The lesson is to thine own self be true before incurring slings and arrows of mass destruction,
Movement pairs "Nina" with the equally good and similarly themed short "Social Butterfly."
The TLA Releasing DVD of the 2020 gay-themed romdram "Are We Lost Forever" has two characteristics that distinguish arthouse films about boys who like other boys from Logo dreck. "Forever" has a strong live-stage vibe and keeps nudity to an (overall) tasteful minimum.
The underlying theme of "Forever" is that the accelerated pace of gay relationships often contributes to them progressing from love at first sight, to domestic harmony, to indifference, to animosity, to a break-up that ultimately leads to trauma and drama within roughly the period that a solid hetero relationship reaches the stage of annoying unmarried friends with constant photos of "the baby." A relationship in "Forever" that goes from locking eyes to locking lips within five minutes perfectly illustrates this.
Our story begins with central engaged couple Adrian and Hampus lounging in their bed that drips with symbolism. This begins with the role that a "have" being in a relationship with a "have not" plays when it comes to dividing up what once was considered mutual property.
Past and present issues result in Adrian being sure that Hampus, who already took one break from the relationship, is planning another run for the border. This is soon confirmed. This encounter introduces an element of the best viciously bickering couple film ever "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf." Adrian subsequently sniping that Hampus never expresses an opinion and Hampus replying that doing so when your opinion always is criticized does not make sense amps up the "Woolf" vibe.
The rest of "Forever" chronicles the aftermath of the end of the relationship. This involves our leads coupling a couple of times for a couple of reasons, separately looking for love in all the wrong (and some of the right) places, and hoping to put right what once went wrong.
One of the most honest scenes has Adrian hooking up for what he knows is a wham. bam, thank your sir but his "dump" thinking that giving it up earns him at least a little pillow talk. We get additional keen insight regarding the extent to which Adrian is willing to take one for the team. This wonderfully channels the cheesy Liberace biopic "Behind the Candelabara" in which the boy of the titular closet case comments as to the circumstances under which the relevant act is repugnant,
We also see the "Forever" boys try to move on, which predictably works better for one of them than for the other. An equally universal aspect of this is the mixture of learning from the past and repeating some of the same mistakes that put them back on the market. A blatant example of this is Adrian prompting his latest at least Mr. Right Now to change his shirt.
Writer/director David Fardmar continues to keep things true to the end in that our main boys are a little older and wiser at a time that they enjoy relative serenity regarding their pasts and their presents.
The Film Movement DVD release of the 2016 Israeli DVD "Harmonia" makes a well-orchestrated tale of Biblical proportions more accessible to North American audiences. The clever concept is that demanding conductor Abraham and his harpist wife Sarah enlist French horn player/Sarah bff to be the surrogate parent of their child.
The official accolades for "Harmonia" include three wins at the 2016 Jerusalem Film Festival.
The following Movement trailer for "Harmonia" shows how writer/director Ori Sivan masterfully blends the Bible story, the behind-the-scenes look at an orchestra, and the operatic melodrama of the movie.
Our story begins with the advocacy of Sarah playing a big role as to independent spirit Hagar getting hired. The former soon subsequently takes the new girl under her wing to the extent of bringing that essentially lost puppy home.
Hagar learning of the near impossibility of Sarah having a baby leads to the aforementioned surrogacy. This leads to the birth of Ben, whose teen years provide some of the best entertainment in the film. This rebellious excitable boy literally and figuratively dances to a tune that differs from the one that his father selects for him. Even when obeying, Ben insists on doing things his own way.
An oblivious Ben bonding with Hagar and proving like mother, like son adds another interesting element. Meeting another member of the family provides special delight.
Adding a baby brother to the mix further complicates things; Ben reasonably believes that the younger child is the favored one and reacts accordingly; one of many telling scenes is Ben blowing his horn into the crib of his sibling.
Sivan expertly brings all this to a satisfying conclusion that shows that the kids (and the parents) are alright. The lesson this time is that families have faced the same issues since Biblical time (and before) and that things only are getting more complicated.
A cursory glance at the section of this site that is dedicated to Icarus Films releases shows that that distributor of mostly foreign films rocks. The bad news is that this post on the Icarus February 23, 2021 DVD release of the 2020 film "Yiddish" shows that even the best among us have a bad day.
The awesome news is that the aptly titled short "Egg Cream" more than makes up for the failings of the feature presentation. The first amusing aspect of this is that the contrasts between the two films illustrates that dessert often is more tasty than the main course. An entertaining "Freaky Friday" element is that the 15-minute "Egg Cream" warrants the roughly hour length of "Yiddish," which would have made for a delightful and informative 15-minute tidbit.
The fault of "Yiddish" equally lies in the stars and in writer/director Nurith Aviv. A lesser flaw is the style and the substance of this documentary not even trying to reflect either the wit or the wisdom of the language around which it is centered. A more positive element is that "Yiddish" contributes to the important campaign to keep lesser-known languages alive.
The seven 20- and early 30-something interviewees each get roughly 10 minutes to share tidbits as to the titular hybrid of Hebrew and German. These not-ready-for-primetime players also discuss the personal importance of Yiddish in their lives.
The best story before giving up on this film was of a Yiddish scholar whose "conversion" leads to bonding with his grandmother; we also hear from a woman whose linguistic studies result in meeting her future husband.
Your not-so-humble reviewer repeatedly yelling "shut up" at the screen during the third interview and adding a word that warrants gargling with body wash during the next one before stopping the film provides a sense of the monotony of the VERY fast-talking and humorless presenters. Better editing of these segments and providing more variety that is the spice of life would have greatly enhanced this documentary.
Moving on, "Egg Cream" by Nora Miller is EVERYTHING that "Yiddish" is not. This begins with "Cream" achieving the genre ideal of being equally entertaining and informative. As indicated above, this film by Nora Miller leaves the audience wanting MUCH more.
Miller opens the film with a charming anecdote about her childhood love of the titular treat that leads to her adult effort to learn more about that beverage. The most amusing reveal is that this taste sensation does not have eggs or cream. (Personal ignorance as to that is behind never trying this drink; this WILL be remedied once it is safe to go back in the water.)
The (perhaps untrue) origin story of egg creams involving opposites is very apt considering the contrasts between "Cream" and "Yiddish." On a more general (pun intended) level, it is amazing to learn how long ago the purported events occurred.
The true delight of "Cream" commences with a trip to a young-at-heart senior who is an expert egg cream maker. His delighting children with both the treat and the story behind it will bring a smile to your face.
We subsequently meet the Jewish owner of a business that sells the titular item; the humor here goes beyond this man being unable to prepare this classic to the guy who is pro not being one of the chosen people.
The bottom line is that "Cream" and its subject provide the joy that both "Yiddish" and its subject should have delivered.
The Film Movement DVD release of the 2009 Argentinian drama "La Boyita" (nee "The Last Summer of La Boyita") awesomely enlighten as it entertains, The tale of tween girl Jorgelina checks all the boxes regarding this game of adolescence Bingo.
The nine festival wins for this well-produced movie with a truly unique perspective include well deserved Best Film, Best Cinematography, and Best Supporting Actress awards at the 2010 Cartagena Film Festival.
The following Movement trailer for "Boyita" expertly does its job of enticing the viewer without revealing any major spoilers.
The summer of growth around which "Boyita" is centered begins with Jorgelina living with her mother and her older sister; finding an anatomy book at the same time that the elder sibling is becoming a woman triggers new thoughts in Jorgelina. Thoughts that include feeling like a tag-a-long prompt Jorgelina to travel to the ranch that her father owns as a side business of his medical practice.
This trip reunites Jorgelina with sweet and sensitive peer Mario, who is a ranch hand. His growing pains include a rite of passage in the form of an upcoming horse race that is intended to prove his manhood. The obstacles include cruel taunting from local boys who are more mature in mind but not body.
Meanwhile Mario is experiencing embarrassing unexplained bleeding that coincides with his concern as to his physical development that is important to every man over the age of 12. His confiding in Jorgelina creates angst as to her wanting to honor the wish of her friend to not tell anyone in contrast to her desire to have her father help the boy.
The final reveal is a revelation for both the characters and the audience. It provides an excellent study as to the role of gender in society and the challenges that can result as to that sometimes delicate subject.
All of this amounts to "Boyita," like most Movement films, showing that a charming story with good talent behind and in-front of the camera makes for a better movie than one that caters to the lowest common denominator.
Due to being released when the prolonged quarantine is causing many of us to consider the others in our lives decreasingly significant, the central concept of the 2015 drama "Time Zone Inn," which is an DVD release from Indiepix Films, is considered more of a dream come true than a dreaded effort to adjust to a new normal. This relates to the titular BnB offering couples that are facing living in different time zones a trial run.
More specifically, one member of a couple stays in a room that simulates where he or she will be living in the near future; his or her mate stays in a room that does the same for him or her. The man in one such relationship staying in the Berlin room while his girlfriend occupies the Beijing accommodation is an example of this.
All of this relates to the nature of a matriarch society and the awful truth about love.
The following short but sweet Indiepix trailer for "Inn" concisely states the concept of the film and the rules that the guests are asked to obey; the latter amusingly does involve lighting and not eating after midnight in addition to learning the harsh consequences of violating the rules.
Our story begins with Mina and Enzo arriving. He is checking into the London room; she is checking into Paris. One spoiler is that we do not see either of them in their underpants. The aforementioned failure to do as they are told leads to this couple meeting fellow guests Marco and Catia. Resident free spirit/troublemaker Gaia soon joins the group,
This gathering triggers conflicts that trigger thoughts of a more dramatic version of the Neil Simon "Suite" comedies that essentially are "The Love Boat" episodes set at landmark hotels.
All of this results in our young lovers being a little wiser, but not necessarily more happy, at the end of the film. The first bigger picture regarding this are that we see what happens when people stop being polite and start being real. The related message is that most of us do not show out crazy until after we have put a ring on it.
Icarus Films and Distrib Films take a Spring Break rest from their typical joint releases of "ripped from the headlines" French crime dramas to release the fun-for-all-ages family comedy "10 Days With Dad." The only fault as to this charming and witty movie is that the title translates more closely to "10 Days Without Mom."
The following trailer accurately shows how this joy that all of us badly need during the never ending pandemic combines the stay-at-home Dad theme of "Mr. Mom" with the more specific concept of parents trying to manage a houseful of rambunctious and quirky kids around which the HILARIOUS 2007-14 Britcom "Outnumbered" is centered. This chaos is particularly relatable to Covid-era parents who have not gotten a break from their offspring for a year and counting.
Our story begins with the seemingly mandatory 21st century opening scenes of chaos followed by the beginning of the end that shows how the characters come to experience that series of unfortunate circumstances. In this case, we see temporarily single father Antoine walking away from a scene of mass destruction ala James Bond and just about every other action hero and parody thereof.
The fateful moment occurs roughly two weeks earlier. Stay-at-home mom Isabelle is at the end of a particularly tough day on which she feels especially stressed and old when HR manager Antoine adds the straw that breaks the back of that beast of burden. He soon learns that that is not the time for his pillow talk to include his opinion that Isabelle is living the good life.
The variation of the tried-and-true "trading places" sitcom trope is Mom is taking a solo vacation for the titular time period. The scene in which that warning goes unheeded is one of the best in this movie that literally does not have a dull moment.
Fairly literally turning a deaf ear to his wife results in Antoine having a comparable rude awakening on Isabelle having her bags packed, being ready to go, and the taxi outside blowing its horn. She does know when she is coming back and is very happy to go.
The hilarity commences with the kids making the first in a series of awesome changes to the i-Phone profile name of Dad. This is ahead of Dad leaving to drop the kids off at school only to realize that he and the youngsters do not know how to get to that educational institution.
This relates to the appeal of the everykids in the family. Fourteen year-old Arthur, who is responsible for Isabelle abandoning her career as an attorney, is a nice young man with a healthy interest in his peers of the opposite sex. Roughly 12 year-old Chloe plays soccer.
Rambunctious 10 year-old Maxime is the most entertaining child; his antics include snorkeling in the living-room aquarium and snatching defeat from the jaws of victory by being caught playing a video game after convincing Mom that he is too sick to go to school.
The humor that baby-of-the-family Jojo contributes mostly is in the form of babbling that usually refers to the substance that currently is in his diaper. Jojo contributes to a hard truth in that the baby sitter tells Antoine that a good father knows what his two-year old is saying. For the record, your not-so-humble reviewer understands the message behind every utterance of his cat.
Of course, the house soon becomes a shambles and the work of Dad suffers at a time that he up for a promotion and finds himself in competition with a younger and more charming co-worker who also is the cousin of a Hollywood star. This makes the growing pains of our family very apt.
Concern as the extent to which Isabelle will go Greek while trying to get her groove back further drives the story.
The build-up to the aforementioned fireworks begin with the baby sitter dramatically quitting amping up the resentment of the kids at a time that Dad needs them to be good team players at a corporate event. Personal relatability this time is considering corporate spouse duty as channeling Samantha Stephens of "Bewitched" without the fun of being able to turn clients into monkeys.
All of this leads to a near-Hollywood ending in which the family does not fully live happily ever after but the kids are alright. The even bigger is that the audience is left desperately wanting more.
The latest in a long. ongoing series of joint DVD releases from Icarus Films and Distrib Films provides a twofer in the form of character studies with strong social commentary. The February 2, 2021 release of the French drama "Night Shift" provides insight into the hearts, minds, and souls of the titular cops who learn that a tough moral dilemma is the price for breaking the cardinal rule against volunteering for anything.
The following trailer perfectly conveys the tone and the style of this tale about the human side of boys (and girls) in blue whose jobs require following orders without question.
Roughly the first half of "Shift" depicts the trauma and the drama that leads to the more intense central angst of the film. Showing the same events from different perspectives helps sets the stage for the main event,
Virginie is a not-so-happily married cop, who has a not-so-pleasant "morning after" medical procedure scheduled for when her shift ends. The role of fellow law-enforcement officer Aristide as to that influences much of the action throughout the film.
Erik is the hardened veteran of the group; his backstory includes his own marital woes and his struggles with his "conceal, don't feel" approach to his job. He additionally clearly is the most by-the-book member of the group.
The nightly "be careful out there" meeting for our unlikely bedfellows includes an announcement that a fire at a prison requires requesting volunteers to escort illegal immigrant Asomidin to a flight back to his native land. As previously mentioned, the three aforementioned cops are the saps who offer to give this guy who may be a terrorist or a refugee a ride to the airport.
"Shift" takes on a particularly strong live-stage vibe when the cops begin their Uber duty. Virginie is the first one to get insight that makes her want to let their passenger take a powder. Of course, Erik is fully on the other side of that Kinsey Scale.
Further discussion wears down Erik, who seems to be more interested in getting Virginie to shut up then to do the right thing. It seems that Aristide is willing to abide by the decision of the group; the aforementioned character study shows that this "keep calm and carry on" 'tude is very consistent as to this man literally and figuratively in the middle on a few levels.
One of the best scenes also is the most insightful; Asomidin having excellent reason to not trust mankind jeopardizes taking advantage of a get-out-of-jail free card.
The true genius of the film comes near the end when it is shown that it ain't over until the blonde lady sings. This leads to "morning-after" events for all concerned; the most symbolic of these in a highly thoughtful films comes at the end.
The big picture this time is interesting but not especially insightful; we show how the range of experiences of cops is behind the roulette wheel as to (as personal experience has shown) whether a guy who does not do threatening at all will be cornered and aggressively grilled after proving beyond any doubt whatsoever that he merely was walking down the street or will be treated in a reasonable manner.
Film Movement Classics once more makes indie-god parent Film Movement particularly proud as to the meticulously pristine DVD of the 1976 Italian melodrama "L'Innocente." This wonderfully highly emotive film epitomizes the dilemma regarding whether to throw out the baby with the bathwater.
The following Movement trailer highlights the artistry in this grande finale for filmmaker Luchino Visconti; we also get a strong taste of the sordid lifestyles of the rich and famous theme that permeates the film.
Our story begins on what essentially is a night at the opera. Philandering husband Tullio (Giancarlo Giannini) is attending a form of pay-for-play event with his lady-who-lunches spouse Giuliana when mistress Countess Teressa Raffo (in a spot-on performance by Jennifer O'Neill) provides the ultimatum of either leaving early with her or forfeiting any future nights of illicit passion. The ensuing events clearly shows who wears the period-piece pants in these overlapping relationships.
A very true dat moment follows on Tullio and Giuliana having not quite pillow talk the morning after, Tullio saying that love transforms into things such as respect and affection over time especially hits home after many of us have had significant others around essentially 24/7 seven months and eternally counting.
The game changer comes on Tullio brother Federico bringing author Filippo d'Arborio along for a family visit. Meeting this new friend prompts Giuliana to take a gander at what is good for the goose. Borrowing a page from the tale of another tumultuous relationship, Tullio decides that the perceived act in question is only repulsive when it is done to him. The other woman also asserting herself does not help matters.
Giuliana subsequently finding herself with child creates drama of Biblical proportions; the clear lack of fatherly-to-be regard by Tullio provides some of the best moments in the film. This extends to a directive to take not even very drastic measures as to a hiccup in the pregnancy.
Visconti saves the best for last as to his depiction of the shock-and-awe that dominate roughly the final 30 minutes of the film. This begins with a particularly dastardly act followed by a highly dramatic act of contrition.
The morals this time are that everyone who marries for money dearly pays for that decision and that karma is not the only bitch that can ruin the life of a dirty rotten scoundrel.
The bonus feature "Reframing L'Innocente" has author Ivo Bloom sharing his expertise as to Visconti filming the movie in a manner that optimizes the symbolism and the related impact on the audience. The 16-page booklet by writer Dan Callahan provides additional perspective.
The Film Movement DVD of the 2018 Asian drama "Complicity" provides more proof that world cinema is global regarding its relativity. The theme this time is a post-adolescent man seeking a better life in a new country.
The following Movement trailer for "Complicity" offers a good primer on this story with shades of "The Karate Kid;" it also highlights the artistry in front of and behind the camera.
Our story begins with otherwise nice young Chinese man Chen Liang committing a criminal act to finance the purchase of a black-market cell-phone and a fake ID.
The ID is central to the effort of Chen to emigrate to Japan. His first obstacle to starting his new life is overcoming his inability to pay the premium associated with buying "a real fake ID" that is associated with an actual person. This resolution reflects the ass, gas, or grass philosophy that prevents anyone from riding for free.
On arriving in Japan, Chen essentially is a squatter among others living on the fringes of society. The next big development is his becoming Liu Wei the soba chef apprentice formerly known as Chen Liang. This job comes with both room and board.
The "Karate Kid" element enters in the form of the "sagely mentor," who owns the restaurant and operates it with the help of his adult daughter. It is clear early on that this master chef knows that his current employee and future mentee is not whom he claims to be.
The sweet love interest enters the picture in the form of student Hazuki, who gets more than she bargains for when ordering a delivery from the restaurant. She also innocently proves that dames ain't nothin' but trouble when she inadvertently blows the cover of the object of her affection.
A series of flashbacks and calls to Mom tell the rest of the story. Chen is escaping a repressive environment in which he is living with his not-so-well mother and his not-so-nice grandmother. These scenes additionally establish that the folks back home know that Chen is in Japan but otherwise are victims of a not-so-elaborate scheme.
Arguably the most cute scene in "Complicity" redeems Grandma. She first sneaks a wad of bills into the pocket of Chen on seeing him off and then insists that he take the money on his discovering that kind gesture,
Writer/director Kei Chikaura deserves great credit for not overdoing the climax; the highly predictable build-up to the house of cards that is Chez Chen tumbling down is done relatively gradually and without the frantic chase through the streets and/or the being dragged off in bracelets that one would expect in this type of tale. It further is nice to see that at least one person in the life of our likable lead realizes his true character.
As always is the case when Movement includes a bonus short film in a release, Movement chooses wisely. ""About Bintou" is a well-produced documentary about an African woman who is a stranger in a strange land in that she is studying in China.
The Corinth Films DVD release of the 2016 Latvian drama "Mellow Mud" presents a highly artistic reminder both that adolescence is referred to as growing pains for a good reason and that things are tough all over. The titular muck provides an apt metaphor for both.
The numerous accolades for this coming-of-age movie include a trio of top honors at the 2016 Latvian National Film Festival and a Best Feature Film win at the 2016 Berlin International Film Festival .
The following trailer highlights the perfect portrayal of central 17 year-old girl Raya by Elina Vaska; the sense of the trauma and the drama that Raya must endure is the icing on the cake.
The element that sets "Mud" aside from facially similar fare is the manner in which writer/director Renars Vimba presents the same old story in a fresh new light. The series of unfortunate circumstances that have led to Raya and younger brother Robis living with not-so-loving grandmother Olga are that their father is dead and their mother abandoned them to facilitate her new life in England.
Things further unravel when Olga buys the farm while in the course of trying to sell it out from under the kids. This further contributes to the angst of Raya as to the only options of the siblings being enduring their current lives of quiet desperation and the alternative especially being a hard-knock life as to Robis. The personal interest of a social worker greatly contributes to this strife that requires a "Weekend at Olga's" form of subterfuge.
A school competition provides Raya hope in two forms. The finals being in London make a mother and child reunion only a prize-winning essay away. Additionally, this contest sets the stage for Raya and her young teacher, who is the subject of school-girl fantasy, to emulate the main characters in that book by Nabokov.
These aspects of the life of Raya require juggling in the form of being a mother to Robis and trying to avoid having him taken away, being the good girl that school authorities always wanted her to be, and maintaining an "its complicated" relationship. Of course, all of this increasing collides as the film progresses.
The absence of a Hollywood ending provides another strong argument for adding "Mud" to your physical-media library. All concerned being wiser but not necessarily happier just ahead of the end credits verifies that this is tale of real-life.
Icarus Films and Distrib Films once again team up to bring compelling French courtroom drama into North American living rooms. The recent "ripped-from-the-headlines" DVD release of the 2019 film "Conviction" nicely follows on the heels of the Icarus/Distrib (reviewed) DVD of "The Girl With a Bracelet."
The alleged crime du century this time is law professor Jacques Viguier committing femmecide. It is known that Mme, Viguier still is missing after vanishing on the night in question; there also is no doubt as to the essential estrangement of the not-so-happily married couple,
The circumstantial smoking guns are Jacques admitting to tossing the mattress of his wife soon after her unexplained absence and his allegedly telling his future ambulance chasers before that event that he could commit the perfect murder, An element of this is your not-so-humble reviewer being one of millions of Americans whose fondness for Hitchcock films potentially earning him a seat on Old Sparky.
Our story commences a short period ahead of Jacques facing a second trial after being acquitted in the first judicial proceeding in which he faces a lifetime as a guest of the state,
The primary twist this time is that the film revolves around single mother/chef/crusader Nora, whose persistence results in convincing celebrity defense attorney Eric Dupond-Moretti to defend Jacques. The stated intertest of Nora is the daughter of Jacques and his absent wife being the tutor of the son of Nora. The price of the representation includes Nora agreeing to listen to and summarize hundreds of hours of recorded evidence, The synopsis on the DVD back cover reveals another big twist.
Much of "Conviction" centers around the retrial; the behind-the-scenes drama being as intriguing as what occurs in court is a large part of what makes this story worthy of a feature film.
Much of the social commentary revolves around elements that contribute to a reasonable mistrust of general justice-system principles, In this case, the prosecution is trying to hold Jacque liable for the death of a woman whos is just as likely to be enjoying a new life as she is to be anchored on the bottom of the Seine. We also are reminded of the extent to which trials are personal to everyone with a cheval in the race,
Other social commentary relates to the prevalence of people in France simply disappearing without a trace. This reflects law school students learning early in the education that the answer to what are the consequences of a certain event always is "it depends." "Conviction" shows the potential for that to lead to what some consider a proper result and that others view as a miscarriage of justice,
The Film Movements Classics division of Film Movement pristine Blu-ray release of the 1993 slice-of-of-life comedy "Caro Diario" is the latest example of introducing audiences to one of the greatest movies that many of us never knew existed. The awesome Classic (reviewed) release of the Salma Hayek film "Midaq Alley" also perfectly illustrates this aspect of Classic titles.
The 13 wins for "Diario" include writer/director/star Nanni Moretti scoring the 1994 Cannes Best Director award.
The following "Diario" trailer highlights the three-chapter format of the film and the quirky charm of Moretti.
"Diario" follows the apparent dual tradition of introspective Euro films of having much of the exposition come in the form of an ongoing inner-monologue of the central character in blocks. In this case, we get the wit and wisdom of real-life filmmaker Moretti in three distinct chapters of the titular journal. The manner in which this all ties together at the end of the movie validates the theory that Hollywood (and Portland) has a great deal to learn from the film capitals across the pond.
The first chapter finds Moretti having a "Roman Holiday" by cruising around his home turf on his scooter. His adventures include watching matinees at movie theaters, pontificating about film locations, and expressing his "oh what a feeling" exuberance as to the '80s mainstream hit "Flashdance." This relatively youthful exuberance includes an amusing encounter with a principal as to that no-reason-to-feel guilty pleasure.
The next chapter easily is the most amusing; Moretti goes island hopping in the context of meeting with a collaborator. The highlights include "Trip To" style teasing regarding a (presumably real) pan of a film.
We also see our (presumably childless) lead endure a visit to an island on which toddlers and tweens call all the shots. A few segments in which adults must try to make their way past prepubescent gatekeepers in order to speak to a 'rent on the telephone ring very true. Many of us who are old enough to remember landlines being the only option have had to endure the "little angel" who answers then puts down the receiver before going about his or her overheard business without telling Mommy or Daddy about the call.
The apt final chapter finds Moretti very frustrated as to getting medical professionals to adequately focus on a health problem to actually do him some good; the analogy of giving a patient a Tylenol for a brain tumor sadly is not very far off.
As indicated above, this (presumably directly consecutive) several weeks in the life of Moretti comes down to his finding comfort in a variation of the talking cure. By that time, the audience likes him as much as the "professional friend" who directly has the being Nanni Moretti experience.
As usual, the Classics extras prove that that distributor more than holds its own as to a company that has self-proclaimed itself as setting the criterion for these types of releases. These bonus features include a making-of featurette, a deleted scene, and a written essay on the film.
The recent Film Movement DVD release of the 2018 Czech film "Winter Flies" proves that the theme of "Tom Sawyer" is both timeless and international. In this case, the coming-of-age occurs during a road trip in a stolen Audi.
The accolades for "Flies" include 4 major wins at the 2019 Czech Lions awards.
Fourteen year-old stud Miara is commencing his odyssey when "quirky" armed and not-so-dangerous peer Hedus pops out and comes along for the ride. It does not take long for the Lennie and George dynamic to become apparent.
An early adventure has the lads rescue a dog from a highly abusive owner; Things get more interesting when "Becky" in the form of Bara, who lacks any physical baggage but has plenty of the emotional variety, joins the group, This leads to the predictable development of Hedus making an awkward play and Mara being the one to get some action.
The inarguably best dynamic in the film is between Mara and Officer Freiwaldova, who serves as a cool mother figure. The narrative in "Flies" regularly shifts between Freiwaldova trying to piece together the relevant events and those actual incidents. She greatly succeeds in getting that kid to understand.
All of this culminates in a climax that proves that there really is no getting through to teenage boys. Mara and Hedus remove any doubt regarding these guys being young, dumb, and full of "spunk."
The well-matched bonus short film "Jackie" deals with the same theme of strained parental relations as "Winter Flies."
Icarus Films and Distrib Films adding the October 6, 2020 DVD release of the 2019 light romdram "Someone Somewhere" to the ongoing extensive list of their collaborations shows North American audiences the potential for this genre. This tale of two young Parisians who constantly miss it by that much as to making a love connection rings far more true than any dreck starring Katherine Heigl.
The highly relatable overall theme of "Someone" is that potential spouse material can be under our highly oblivious noses. A secondary theme is that those around us often deal with the same "stuff" that plagues us even aside from a global pandemic that is greatly hindering meeting anyone for any purpose.
Our likable leads are Amabot warehouse worker Remy, who is "promoted" to answering customer service calls, and research assistant Melanie. The paths of these leads who live in abutting apartments constantly cross on the subway and in the neighborhood market where everyone knows their name. The parallels extend to going to the same pharmacy at the same time to get drugs for comparable sleep disorders that drive each of them into therapy.
This is not to mention parallel job stress and angst about going home for the holidays. Melanie resorting to online dating services provides the best humor in "Someone." For his part, Remy is involved in an "its complicated" relationship with a co-worker.
The only contrived common thread involves a pet project of each urbanite.
Aside from the quarter-life crises of Remy and Melanie, the "will they or won't they" meet drives much of the action in this film in which Icarus and Distrib eschew the typical car accidents of their French films for a series of near-misses involving the main characters. However, the obligatory dance party scene remains.
The big picture this time is that "Someone" shows that the downside of the urban anonymity that is behind Remy moving to Paris can prevent people from living happily ever after.
Leo Tolstoy provides a good perspective for the Indiepix Films DVD of the 2017 drama "Family." Tolstoy observes that all happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.
The accolades for this Veronica Kedar famdram joint about 20-something Lily and her highly dysfunctional family include the Best Feature honor at the 2019 Brooklyn Horror Film Festival.
The following Indiepix trailer for "Family" perfectly reflects the desperate times that lead to the desperate measures by Lily.
The action in this film with a strong live-stage centers around Lily making an unscheduled after-hours visit to the home/office of therapist Carmela in the wake of our excitable girl having done a bad bad thing. While waiting for her shrink to return, Lily raps with Carmela daughter Talia; that offspring reflects the irony of the children of a shoemaker going around barefoot.
The Ibsenesque story that comes out via flashbacks in that prolonged discussion provides portraits of each member of the family of Lily. This begins with Dad Avi,, who clearly shows that the kids get their crazy from Mom's side of the family. At the same time, Dad has literally and figuratively distanced himself from this about-to-go-nuclear family.
Mom simply is one of those women not cut out to be a mother and a wife; her level of crazy is low, but she is a toxic carrier of that disease. Her fate involves what can be considered Sarandon wrap in reference to the more comical dysfunctional family film "Igby Goes Down" that shows who in the Culkin family has the real talent.
Elder Sister Smadar, who cannot let it go, divides her time between causing chaos and being locked in her room for her own good and that of her family. Her hanging around provides a catalyst for arguably the most dark element of this deeply black tale.
Brother Adam arguably is the most interesting member of the clan; he has especially creepy incestuous desires that the attempts to satisfy for fun and profit. His ultimate fate proves the adage of like father, like son.
The "B Story" portrayal of the home life of Carmela shows that Lily is far from the only damaged soul under that roof.
The takeaway from all this is that those closest to us are the ones that are most skilled at pushing our buttons. The rest of the story is that we all have our breaking points.
The dynamic duo of Icarus Films and Distrib Films maintain their perfect track record with the September 22, 2020 DVD of the 2019 drama "The Girl With A Bracelet." This French film (complete with obligatory dance party scene but sans vehicular mayhem) depicts the murder trial of titular teen amiecide defendant Lise. The real crime is that this thought-provoking compelling drama did not get any amore de festival du film.
The following Distrib trailer for "Bracelet" highlights the related themes of Lise not being innocent even if she is not a killer and of her parents being the clueless ones in this case.
"Bracelet" bucks the trend of recent films commencing with trauma and drama only to soon shift the action to the onset of the series of unfortunate circumstances that bring us to that point. Wascally wabbit writer/director Stephane Demoustier provides a deceptive cold open in the form of neo-modern everyteen Lise, adorable younger brother Jules, and their 'rents enjoying a seaside idyll. The arrival of les gendarmes to escort Lise away shows that this is no day at the beach,
The action soon shifts to two years later. A typical sheepheaded Gallic teen chien du horn is sniffing around la maison of the family when the father of Lise tells the boy go, Diego, go, This leads to learning that a surprisingly outwardly blase Lise literally is under house arrest (as enforced by the titular ankle bling) and is about to stand trial.
Diego later showing up for a practice congenial visit is highly symbolic on a few levels. The same is true regarding the PERFECT final shot in "Bracelet."
The facts that soon emerge at the aforementioned judicial proceeding are that sleepover guest Lise apparently was the last person to see friend Flora alive before the mother of Flora discovers an especially gruesome murder scene the next afternoon. Although the murder weapon still is missing, the indirect evidence of guilt includes Flora filming and uploading a video of Lise fellating a teen boy simply because Lise is told to do so. The trial of the father of Lise includes having to watch that footage and having both the prosecution and the defense address its significance in open court.
The trial largely runs its course as expected with the exception of Lise not showing much emotion, This extends to it seeming that the death of her friend is a not a significant event even absent Lise being accused of that offense.
All of this culminates in the verdict in the trial; the cynicism as to this is that that outcome does not properly reflect the culpability of Lise as a member of society.
The bigger picture this time is that the fact that "Bracelet" could have been made word-for-word and shot-for-shot in the US shows that parents everywhere really do not know how their teens spend their days and nights. A related message is that most parents always love their kids but do not always like them.
The 8.9 IMDb rating for the 2019 Lithuanian documentary "Delta Zoo," which IndiePix Films has released on DVD in North America, reflects the interesting and creative manner that this film tells the real-life tale of the titular Lithuanian commando squad that contributes to the effort by their country to leave the Soviet Union. The melange of world politics, '90s action movies, low-tech video games, and the macho pride of wannabe super soldiers supports the theory that truth is stranger than fiction.
The following trailer aptly highlights both the retro style of the film and the aspects of the essential militia around whom the film is centered.
Our story begins with Lithuania being a trend setter in that it is the first country to declare independence from the Soviet Union; this leads to recruiting a Cobra Kai (COBRA KAI) style martial-arts expert to recruit and train our post-adolescent squad. Archival footage shows their rigorous and violent training.
Our talking heads who were there share their perspective of this band of brothers bonding over viewings of bootleg VHS copies of films such as "Rambo" and that largely consist of the Kung Fu fighting of Bruce Lee that the boys find so exciting; this portion of the film also demonstrates that our Karate Kids are fast as lightning,
This orientation to the group provides some of the most fun in the film in that heavily pixelated animation accompanies profiles, including the apt animal code names of each fighting boy. Individual ratings on attributes that include craziness and fighting skills are the icing on the cake.
The human perspective continues with the tale of these toy soldiers sharing a rural farmhouse ala a rock band holed up to produce its latest album. A cool aspect of this is mutual willful ignorance as to a group of Russian soldier who are the neighbors of the "Zoo" animals.
Anecdotes from this boot camp include an evening in town that leads to an inevitable bar brawl and accounts of machismo that include essentially walking off a broken leg. Of course, there also is the local woman who essentially becomes a team mascot/den mother.
The video game element continues with the boys going out into the field. The footage of exploring a government building evokes strong feelings of video games. This includes the discovery of secret rooms and the officials and the guests of the state who are left behind.
The message this time is the difference between men and boys is the killing power of their toys.
The Film Movement DVD of the quirky 2018 French film "Ulysses & Mona" perfectly highlights the charm of Gallic art house movies and the Movement love of all things international. The awesomeness of this one extends beyond the strong live-stage vibe to being a film that literally and figuratively is easily transferable to North America word-for-word and shot-for-shot,
The following Movement trailer for "Ulysses" provides a good sense of the odd sensibility that makes it so endearing.
Writer-director Sebastien Betbeder immediately catches our attention with an opening scene that has 20 year-old art student Mona and her adorable sheep-headed classmate in a nude-drawing class that clearly is not using this year's model. These future baristas who paint on the weekends have a highly amusing exchange about Mona not using the proper proportions as to her seemingly generous portrayal of the male subject du jour.
Meanwhile back at the estate, 55 year-old former darling of the art world/current recluse Ulysses Borrelli is spending most of his days hitting tennis balls flung at him from an automated machine. We quickly learn that the demise of his marriage is tied to his retirement from highly regarded career.
The worlds of our leads collide when the younger searches out the elder. The journey into the woods initially introduces Mona to misfit child Arthur, whose eccentricities include calling Ulysses Dracula.
Although initially rebuffed, things dramatically change on Mona taking another bite at the apple. She returns to find her idol in dire straits. This ultimately leads to an epic journey of Ulysses accompanied by Mona.
The purpose of the trip is for Ulysses to mend strained relationships in his life; the purpose of Mona accompanying him is to guarantee that he will go through with it.
The first stop is at the McJob workplace of 20-something Nicolas; suffice it to say that the reunion is not a happy one. Mona does help smooth the waters.
Our pair next drops in on ex-wife Alice, who clearly has moved on.
A relatively raucous night before returning home creates more excitement before coming home to find that Ulysses is a person-of-interest in not a good way. This, in turn, leads to another trip into the woods that leads to closure for all.
As always is the case as to Film of the Month Club selections, Movement pairs "Ulysses" with an apt short film. "Wolf Carver" has the titular grumpy middle-aged artist take his Mona on a road trip through Finland; in this case, the unpacking of copious baggage is highly symbolic.
The Icarus Films DVD of the 2106 "ripped-from-the-headlines" French film "Down By Love" is a perfect example of the beautiful friendship between Icarus and Distrib Films from which North American audiences benefit. Like most Icarus/Distrib Films, this tale of the illicit affair between post-adolescent inmate Anna Amari and married middle-aged prison director Jean Firmino could be made word-for-word and shot-for-shot in the US.
The following Distrib trailer for "Love" offers a good sense of the apt level of drama that conveys the tale of this unusual triangle.
Our story begins with Anna en route to the facility run by Jean as the next stage of her unfortunate incarceration ahead of her trial for the offense of this young offender. She soon catches the eye of Jean, and they experience a form of love that dare not speak its name if they know what is good for them, An especially precious moment has Anna creating a fantasy world in which she and her "teacher" essentially move to Westchester together. The ambiguity as to the extent to which Anna looks to Jean for the forms of escape that should be higher priorities is part of what makes "Love" special.,
In true fashion as to this type of story. the truth comes out roughly halfway through the film. The surprising twist is the extent to which Jean risks his career and his family life to be with "the other woman."
One of the mot memorable scenes begins with Jean providing a form of wish fulfillment by taking Anna away during a weekend furlough; the ensuing awkwardness and tension illustrate the principle of being careful for what you wish.
All of this culminates in a not-so-grande finale with a neo-modern twist on a Golden Age trope. If nothing else, it shows that equality has been achieved.
The Indiepix Films DVD of the 2018 Mexican drama "Hypnosis to Be Happy" aptly centers around a standoff between the central characters, who equally aptly figuratively are the last two people on earth. As almost always is the case, the live-stage vibe of "Hypnosis" contributes to the enjoyment of the film. Dividing the scenes into chapters is apt as to protagonist Felipe being a rare-book dealer.
The following Indiepix trailer for "Hypnosis" highlights the aforementioned "You Are There" feeling. It also conveys the nature of the relationship that dominates the film.
The opening scenes of "Hypnosis" are very reminiscent of traditional Calvin Klein ads in that they are stylistic black-and-white images of Felipe and his object of adequate affection Pilar touring an art museum as voice-over narration tells of both of them seeking someone with whom to spend the rest of their lives.
Things become even more personal and philosophical when the action shifts to a restaurant where Felipe proposes after four dates. This predictably triggers a conversation about how well each of the not-so-significant others know each other and what makes them happy.
Felipe demonstrates his surprising power of persuasion in convincing Pilar to accompany him to the warehouse-like building from which he operates his business. The apprehension that Pilar feels on Felipe locking her is a valid reaction. This leads to inarguably the best segment of the film in that Felipe increasingly bares his soul to his intended and she softens regarding her arguable captor. This also involves a notable line as to no book being in the store that does not want to be there.
The action then shifts to a modified walk-of-shame. Despite looking a little shell shocked and still not being engaged, Pilar agrees to drive in the country with Felipe. The ride and a related discovery of a relic prompts Felipe to open up about his childhood and his relationship with his parents in a way that further thaws the heart of Pilar. This includes exposition as to the meaning of the title of the film.
All this lead to the tale of Felipe and Pilar ending on an ambiguous note that reinforces the modern sense that "happily ever after" is as much of a fiction in the real world as it is on the silver screen.
The Film Movement Classics division of Film Movement Blu-ray of the 1995 Salma Hayek film "Midaq Alley" has EVERY element that makes it a perfect film. This begins with a young attractive cast that has someone for everyone, a telenovela vibe that provides no-reason-to-feel-guilty pleasure, and high-concept in the form of being based on a novel by Nobel laurete Naguib Mahfouz. The IDEAL blend of humor and drama of both the melo and regular varieties is the topping on the fried ice cream. There truly is not a dull moment.
The crystal-clear images and audio (not to mention a behind-the-scenes feature and a written essay) in this restoration further make this one well worthy adding to your video library.
The impressive 27 festival wins for "Midaq" include several awards at the 1995 Ariel Awards in Mexico.
The below Movement trailer for Midaq Alley highlights the exceptional quality of every aspect of the film.
In addition to an awesome live-stage vibe, "Midaq" evokes strong thoughts of the similarly themed 2006-09 BBC serial series "The Street" that tells the inter-connected stories of the residents of a London neighborhood. Both productions do an excellent job keeping all the players in play and showing how their lives overlap.
"Midaq" centers around the neighborhood bar that Don Ru owns and operates. This watering hole truly is a place where everyone knows your name (and your business).
A brief glimpse of the life of Ru and of his 20-something son Chava is the tip of the iceberg that provides a good sense of the "Midaq" style. The blatant Freudian aspects of that relationship begin with Ru being disappointed with the poor work ethic of Chava, who obsessively dreams of moving El Norte.
The disappointment of Ru regarding his offspring is an element as to developing a friendship with benefits with a young clothing store clerk whom is closer to what Ru considers an ideal son. The extent to which Ru and this post-adolescent express their mutual affection contributes an ick factor on a couple of levels.
The desired traveling buddy of Chava is Abel, who is a local barber obsessed with local beauty Alma (Hayek). Of course, Alma drives plenty of drama herself.
The ripples extend from there to the opportunistic bartender, the horny spinster, the tarot card reader, etc.
The big picture this time it that "Midaq" is both compelling and funny because it is true.
Breaking Glass Pictures takes a break from international queer cinema DVD releases that range from the flirty to the filthy to offer the highly compelling stylized 2013 Italian drama "Naples in Veils." This sophisticated sibling of Lifetime fare centers around coroner Adriana being a donna on the verge of a nervous breakdown.
Some of the numerous accolades for "Veils" include a "Best Cinematography" win at the 2018 David di Donatello awards and "Best Actress" at the 2018 Moscow International Film Festival.
The following Breaking trailer for "Veils" tantalizes with glimpse of the intrigue and the award-winning cinematography. You also see that Breaking gives a breeder boy a chance to show that he more than qualifies to flaunt it.
Early Euro drama commences with a flashback in which we see (presumably) Adriana as a child see (presumably) her mother (presumably) commit a (presumably) heinous act. This memory haunts Adriana as she watches a symbolism-dripping live sacrilegious performance of a bizarre variation on the Joan Rivers-Billy Crystal pregnant man '70s comedy film "Rabbit Test."
In true Lifetime fashion. Adriana invites fellow audience member Andrea back to her place without any pretense as to showing him her etchings. This beginning of a beautiful friendship with benefits turns into a one-night stand when Andrea stands up Adriana. His (presumably) showing up on her slab the next provides a (presumably) good excuse for ghosting (pun intended) her.
The first element of twin (pun intended) hysteria ensues on Adriana learning that the guy with whom she shares genuine intimacy after a brief conversation is not the guy whom she thought that he was. The follow-up is being convinced that she repeatedly thinks that she sees her short-time companion walking about after he shows up at her workplace.
The latter is soon explained by the object of the obsession of Adriana identifying himself as Luca, the essentially separated-at-birth identical twin brother of Andrea. Two spoilers are that Luca lacks both a goatee and an eye patch.
Adriana harbors the brother from the same mother while seeking answers as to the alleged nefarious activity of Andrea and the reason for his (presumed) murder. The indications that Adriana may have possession of either a coveted possession or information further keep her embroiled in the plot.
The highly symbolic Euro drama continues as Adriana and Luca pursue their "its highly complicated" relationship while Adriana seeks closure as to her relationship with Luca. The fact that insanity does not run, it gallops, in the family of Adriana does not help matters.
The strong quality of every aspect of "Veils" unambiguously is why it meets the high standards of Breaking; the incredible ambiguity and layers of meaning make it even more special.
This is not to mention the uncertainty as to both the cause and the effect of virtually every event; this begins with Adriana possibly scoring with Andrea solely based on his believing that she is the girl with something extra.
Breaking supplements this with deleted scenes and a "Backstage with Cast & Crew" special feature.
The Breaking Glass Pictures DVD release of the 2018 drama "Drive Me Home" expands on a common theme in Breaking films. Many of the World Cinema indie flicks in the Breaking catalog are about gay teen boys or post-adolescents reuniting between 10 and 20 years after parting ways in a manner typically involving trauma and drama.
The following Breaking trailer for "Drive" showcases the edgy energy and the stylistic look of the film.
Early scenes center around Sicilian teens Antonio and Agostino dreaming of creating a Utopia (complete with a crocodile-laden moat) on the family farm of the former. Their paradise is lost when Agostino abruptly leaves literally without so much as a ciao to his BFF.
The fast-forward this time is roughly 15 years. Antonio tracks down Agostino in his big rig at a truck stop. Whether Antonio provides some combination of ass, gas, or grass for the subsequent journey (including a night at a bathhouse) remains to be seen.
The pattern of the main part of the film remains largely true to form. The chums catch up, obtain closure, and gain a deeper understanding of the other person. Agostino being able to fully express himself to his friend is a highlight.
Seeing Agostino play a (frequently exasperated) older brother role adds good charm to the film. This additionally verifies that he is the "adult" in the relationship.
The rest of the story is that the motives of Antonio extend beyond wanting to reconnect with arguably the most stable influence in his life. His now-abandoned homestead is about to go on the auction block to pay back taxes, and he is hoping that Agostino will buy the farm. This is akin to high-school boys who jointly run a summer business dreaming of that becoming their vocation.
The joy of this and the rest of "Drive" is that it keeps the realistic twists coming to the end, We further see how everything is connected and that life is a series of comprises.
The DVD extras include deleted scenes and a Sky TV interview with the director and the cast.
The Icarus Films and Distrib Films collaboration as to the June 23, 2020 DVD release of the 2019 French based-on-a-true story drama "The Perfect Nanny" (nee "Chanson deuce") once again proves that Euro cinema far outshines Hollywood (and U.S. indie) fare across the board. This story of a governess with a dark passenger is a high-quality production that likely would have been a Lifetime-caliber movie if made here.
The following trailer for "Nanny" PERFECTLY captures the world-class work by director/writer Lucie Borleteau and the equally strong portrayal of titular caregiver Louise by Karin Viard.
The social commentary alone makes "Nanny" worthy of study in either a sociology or film class. This begins with voice-over narration by mother/attorney Myriam discussing adding infant Adam to her family that includes musician husband Paul and young daughter Mila. Speaking as the once parent of two littermate kittens after losing an "only child" cat, it is easy to understand Myriam feeling overhwhelmed after voluntarily becoming outnumbered. (Challenges includes one "kid" getting wise and hiding after my capturing the other to go to the vet and that same sibling constantly eating both his food and that of his brother.)
The next commentary comes in the form of Paul noting in response to Myriam expressing a desire to return to work that having a nanny would eat up the entire amount that Myriam would earn as a litigator, That is a more of a statement as to the value that yuppie couples place on delegating their childcare responsibilities than it is on the perceived worth of a legal advocate.
The next segment consists of the trope of comically toxic applicants, including a quirky college student, for the caretaker job until perfect candidate Louise shows up. One spoiler is that this is not a case that she is there to sell make-up but the father sees more.
The subtle manner in which Louise (with more than a little help from her friends) subsequently descends into madness is much of what sets "Nanny" apart from a basic-cable movie starring Tracey Gold. This starts out with things such as overreacting to an playground incident and arguing with Myriam as to giving the children yogurt that is past its expiration date. That debate alone is particularly apt in this era in which food is becoming more expensive and harder to find.
The creep factor really sets in when Louise increasingly treats older child Mila in a very adult manner; making up that five year-old in a grotesquely whorish manner is the tip of the iceberg as to that particular practice. Louise passing that off as a harmless game on being confronted amps up the creepiness factor.
That incident and many others introduce commentary in the form of the debate regarding whether to keep a clearly bad (and potentially dangerous) individual on the payroll and realizing that outwardly good help is hard to find. In other words, Paul and Myriam must balance endangering their children with the desire of Mom to feel fulfilled.
The seemingly innocent ways that Paul and Myriam inadvertently push Louise to the inevitable edge include confronting her about an embarrassing legal matter and a last-minute temporary substitution of caregiver. This leads to both disturbing scenes of the home life of Louise and the equivalent of a "boiled bunny" moment at the home of her employer. An amazing aspect of the latter is that even that does not prompt the couple to toss the nanny out on her fanny.
All of this leads to an exceptionally well-executed climax that really shows the chops of both Borleteau and Viard. You WILL avert your eyes.
The fact that "Nanny" is ripped-from-the-headlines shows that the story of Louise is sad but true; the fact that such incidents occur in many countries shows the almost universal aspect of the film. The final piece of this trifecta is that "Nanny" easily can be made line-for-line and shot-for-shot in the U.S.