Sunday, August 12, 2012

Le Skylab

Ranskalainen viikonloppu / Jag minns en sommar. FR 2011 (year of release) © 2010 [tbc] [tbc] [tbc] [tbc].  PC: The Film, Mars Distribution, France 2 Cinéma, Tempête Sous Un Crâne Production. P: Michael Gentile. D+SC: Julie Delpy. DP: Lubomir Bakchev - shot on 35 mm - 1,85:1 - digital post-production: Digimage Cinéma. PD: Yves Fournier. Set dec: Philippe Cord'homme. Cost: Pierre-Yves Gayraud. Makeup: Marie Lastennet. SFX: Odile Beraud. VFX: Cédric Fayolle. M supervisor: Matthieu Sibony. S: Alexandre Widmer. ED: Isabelle Devinck. Casting: Stéphane Batut, Elsa Pharaon, Stéphane Zito. C: Lou Avarez (la petite Albertine), Karin Viard (Albertine adulte), Julie Delpy (Anna, la mère d'Albertine), Eric Elmosnino (Jean dit Jacquot, le père d'Albertine), Aure Atika (tante Linette), Noémie Lvovsky (tante Monique), Bernadette Lafont (mamie Amandine), Emmanuelle Riva (Mme Prévost dite Mémé, la mère d'Anna), Vincent Lacoste (Christian), Marc Ruchmann (tonton Loulou), Sophie Quinton (tante Clémentine), Valérie Bonneton (tante Micheline), Denis Ménochet (tonton Roger), Jean-Louis Coullo'ch (tonton Fredo), Michelle Goddet (tante Suzette), Luc Bernard (tonton Joseph), Albert Delby (tonton Hubert), Candide Sanchez (tonton Gustavo), Lily Savey (Sissi), Chloé Antoni (Valérie). Locations: Bretagne / Brittany (Morbihan, Ille-et-Vilaine, Saint-Malo). Released by Cinema Mondo with Finnish / Swedish subtitles by Outi Kainulainen / Markus Karjalainen. 2K DCP viewed at Kinopalatsi 10, Helsinki, 11 August 2012.

This is the first time I see a film directed by Julie Delpy. Not surprisingly, the performances of the actors and the acting ensemble are superb, but there is more.

Based on the preview I was expecting a humoristic account of a big family holiday weekend in Brittany. And the film is exactly that, among other things. There is a wild, vital sense of life in the encounters and confrontations of the family branches with their widely divergent values, generations, social classes and lifestyles.

Le Skylab is also a coming of age story of the 11-year-old Albertine who is about to move from childhood to teen age. Set in 1979, a motif of the movie is the fall of the Skylab satellite, expected to take place in Brittany during that very weekend ("we may not live until tomorrow"). It actually crashes down in Australia.   

The reason for the family meeting is the birthday of grandmother Amandine - Bernadette Lafont, the vibrant nouvelle vague actress, still radiant here as the center of attention of the six families of her children.

Memorable scenes include city children facing facts of life at the farm (butchering a lamb for lunch), lamenting the miserable niveau of television programmes, a demonstration of a modern vacuum cleaner, an irreverent sing-a-long, a boy fond of girls' games, a visit to the beach, including a naturist beach, and a disco sequence.

Gradually from the account of a family weekend a new dimension emerges: a social, historical, and political dimension. "No playing with food, in Africa children die of hunger". There is a violent argument about Mitterrand's candidacy for President (Anna and Jean are Mitterrand voters). There is a mentally retarded brother of grandmother Amandine. It turns out that he has been tortured in WWII in Indochina by the Japanese, and never fully recovered. Family tradition includes a story of one who helped Jews to Switzerland during the Occupation; there the Swiss banked their money and handed them over to Nazis on the Austrian border. Grandmother Albertine, herself, has memories of mansion opulence from her life in French Indochina. The right-wing family branch defends passionately the French colonialist period in Algeria. Roger is an erotomaniac who according to his wife needs to fuck 20 times a night and even sneaks at night to the side of his brother's wife for even more. His right-wing brother, a doctor, refers to a potentially damaging dossier about Roger. Roger, too, is a war veteran, whose most memorable experience has been the war in Chad: "we made the niggers eat their own balls", "women fell down to our feet". He yearns to return to war, to feel the power of the victor.

There is a surprising, disturbing framing story set in the present on a TGV train where the grown-up Albertine, now with children of her own, acts like a harridan of the worst kind. She has not grown into a sympathetic, balanced woman. Perhaps she has become the opposite of her jovial, liberal, fun-loving parents. There is also a disturbing scene from the 1979 train, where a nice, normal man saying hello to Albertine is freezed out of the compartment with a hint that he is a pervert. Le Skylab is not idealizing family affairs, any of them.

The music selection of the film has been made with loving care, true to the period.

The film has been shot photochemically on 35 mm, but in the digital intermediate process it has acquired a high definition video look: sharp, clear, and clean, at times almost uncannily so, but also slightly airless. The plein air feeling that would be important for an outdoors movie like this is missing.
Soundtrack listing:

« L’Eté Indien »
(Vito Pallavicini, Stuart Ward / Salvatore Cutugno, Pasquale Losito)
Adaptation française par Claude Lemesle et Pierre Delanoë
Interprété par Joe Dassin
© Pinaeta Ediz Mus SNC / Curci Edizioni SRL
Représentés en France par Curci France
(P) 1975 Sony Music Entertainment France
Avec l’aimable autorisation de Curci France et Sony Music Entertainment France

« Happy Birthday To You »
(Patty Hill, Mildred J. Hill)
© 1935 Summy Birchard Company
Avec l’aimable autorisation de Warner Chappell Music France

« Ne Pleure Pas Jeannette »
(Domaine Public)

« Ni Trop Tôt Ni Trop Tard »
(Serge Rezvani)
Interprété par Jeanne Moreau
© 1963 Warner Chappell Music France
(P) 1964 Productions Jacques Canetti
Avec l’aimable autorisation de Warner Chappell Music France et des Productions Jacques Canetti

« L’Avion »
(Thème du Domaine Public)
Tous droits réservés

« Le Mouton est un Animal à Poil Laineux »
(Thème du Domaine Public)
Tous droits réservés

« Bambino (Guaglione) »
(Nisa / G. Fanciulli)
Adaptation française de Jacques Larue
© ACCORDO Edizioni Musicali, srl
Avec l’aimable autorisation de S.E.M.I. – Paris

« Les Anarchistes »
(Léo Ferré)
© Mathieu Ferré et Cie
Avec l’aimable autorisation de Mathieu Ferré

« La Ballade Des Gens Heureux »
(Pierre Delanoë, Gérard Lenorman / Gérard Lenorman)
© 1975 Warner Chappell Music France
Avec l’aimable autorisation de Warner Chappell Music France et Gérard Lenorman

« Alléluia »
Sur les motifs de l’œuvre « Hallelujah »
(Shimrit Or / Kobi Oshrat-Ventoora)
Adaptation française par Michel Jourdan
Interprété par Milk & Honey
© Gogli Music publ. (ACUM)
Tous droits administrés par ARTEMIS MUZIEKUITGEVERIJ B.V.
Tous droits réservés
(P) 1979 HS Records
Avec l’aimable autorisation de Warner Chappell Music France et Shlomo Zack

« Born To Be Alive »
(Patrick Hernandez)
Interprété par Patrick Hernandez
Produit par Jean Van Loo
© Saturn PHL
(P) 1979 Van Loo Music
Avec l’aimable autorisation de Saturn PHL et Van Loo Music

« It’s Five O’Clock »
(Richard Julian Francis / Evangelos Papathanassiou)
Interprété par Aphrodite’s Child
© 1969 EMI Music Publishing Ltd.
(P) 1969 Universal International Music B.V.
Avec l’aimable autorisation d’Universal Music Vision et EMI Music Publishing
Tous droits réservés

« Too Drunk To Fuck »
(Jello Biafra, East Bay Ray, Klaus Flouride, D.H. Peligro)
Interprété par Dead Kennedys
© DECAY MUSIC (BMI) administré par Bug Music, Inc.
 (P) 1981 Cherry Red Records
Avec l’aimable autorisation de French Fried Music et Blackrock Creative Management Co

« Alone Again (Naturally) »
(Gilbert O’Sullivan)
Interprété par Gilbert O’Sullivan
© 1972 Grand Upright Music Ltd.
(P) Grand Upright Music Ltd.
Avec l’aimable autorisation d’EMI Music Publishing France et Grand Upright Music Ltd.
Tous droits réservés.

« If My Friends Could See Me Now »
(Dorothy Fields / Cy Coleman)
Interprété par Linda Clifford
© Notable Music Co Inc. administré par Campbell Connelly & Co Ltd
(P) 1978 Curtom Records
Avec l’aimable autorisation de Campbell Connelly France et Warner Music France, A Warner Music Group Company

« Disco Revue »
(Stéphane Huguenin, Christian Padovan, Yves Sanna)
Avec l’aimable autorisation de KMusik

« Disco Nights »
(Steve Martin)
(P) & © Primetime Productions Ltd
Avec l’aimable autorisation d’Universal Publishing Production Music France


Vidéomusique de l’enregistrement « Hallelujah »
(P) 1979 Toppop
Avec l’aimable autorisation d’AVRO

« What’s New Mr Magoo? »
TM & © Classic Media, LLC
Avec l’aimable autorisation de Classic Media, LLC


Tero said...

Did you see DCP screening of the movie? In Maxim (Helsinki) it was on 35 mm.

Antti Alanen said...

Hello Tero, I did see a DCP screening. But if the 35 mm print was made from the same digital intermediate there may not be a significant difference.