Enough movies already. Well, except for the French charmer, Les Noms des gens. Charm is, after all, heavily underrated, especially by Americans. (So is subtlety; the American title has changed the enigmatic “The names of people” to “The Names of Love.”) If an American comedy about a very pretty and sexy woman who accidentally walks naked, save for an umbrella and fuschia combat boots, down the street and onto public transportation, it would be all about the men who guffaw, drool, and generally act as mature as Seth MacFarlane. The French make this kind of thing simply character illumination; it’s about her, and it’s effortless.
In addition, said woman sleeps with right wingers to convert them, and admits that her promiscuity is a result of childhood sexual trauma. And on top of that, the movie centers on a fierce debate about identity: what it means to French, Jewish, Moslem, Algerian, Greek, and French again. (In France, the movies that are awarded tend to circle back to this question; in America, it’s movies that say “Hollywood is awesome.”) Yet Les Noms dances, never steps on its own dick so to speak. It’s sweet, lightning fast, and also moving. With Jacques Gamblin, Carole Franck (the nice nurse in Amour), and the luminous Sara Forestier, who won a César for Best Actress. It’s only the second feature for Michel Leclerc, who also wrote it; looking forward to more.
I had discovered Lianne La Havas in this wonderful series from London, Black Cab Sessions, where (mostly) somewhat unknown musicians performed a song in the back of a cab, using only the instruments they could fit and improvise. This video has something of the air of those 80s story videos to it, but it’s more like a short with a song providing the backbone. La Havas is one of the rare folks with a Facebook fan page that’s worth following. See what you think, and have a lovely weekend.