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COLCOA 2017: Heaven Will Wait, by David Bax

1 May

The COLCOA (City of Lights, City of Angels) French Film Festival is a week of French film premieres in Hollywood.

In the opening scene of Marie-Castille Mention-Schaar’s Heaven Will Wait, a support group of French parents whose daughters have become radicalized Islamic jihadists discuss how they lost their children to a world they don’t understand. There were signs missed and signs ignored. The danger of dismissing a teen phase is that it’s not a phase to them. It’s an intriguing start to an exploration of an incomprehensible but all too real phenomenon. Unfortunately, Mention-Schaar isn’t interested in going much deeper.

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COLCOA 2017: A Bag of Marbles, by David Bax

1 May

The COLCOA (City of Lights, City of Angels) French Film Festival is a week of French film premieres in Hollywood.

Lately, I’ve been paying particularly rapt attention to movies about life under Nazi rule or occupation and how people reacted and survived. With the rise of white nationalists here in the United States, emboldened by a President with no qualms about courting them, I’ve taken to studying these true stories of the past, looking for clues or hints as to how to act, endure and overcome. In Christian Duguay’s impressive real life tale of survival, A Bag of Marbles, there are many lessons to be learned. One of the most important comes early on. After a Jewish barber in Paris stands up to a German soldier (in the days between the start of the occupation and the hammer coming down), someone remarks to him, “You spoke out because you still can.” May movies like this one encourage us to do the same today.

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COLCOA 2017: Everyone’s Life, by David Bax

1 May

The COLCOA (City of Lights, City of Angels) French Film Festival is a week of French film premieres in Hollywood.

Everyone’s Life, the latest from veteran French filmmaker Claude Lelouch, is a loose and sunny ensemble comedy with a bitter sense of humor. Call it optimistically cynical (or cynically optimistic) but for every bawdy joke tossed off by a doctor who makes his rounds on a hover board, there’s a scene like the violent, decidedly non-politically correct and, eventually, surreal public argument between a cheating woman and her Arabic boyfriend. Lelouch seems to be saying, “Well, pretty much everyone is cruel, selfish and corrupt but they have some good qualities too and we’ll probably figure it out in the end so don’t worry too much.”

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