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Features Live Action Movies

The Beast
(La Bête)
(2023)

Director – Bertrand Bonello – 2023 – France – Cert. – 146m

*****

Required to expunge her emotions by the ruling AI of 2044, a woman with a sense of dread revisits her past lives in 1910 and 2014 and their incarnations of the love of her life – curious mix of art house movie and science fiction plays Glasgow Film Festival which runs from Wednesday, February 28th to Sunday, March 10th, and is out in UK cinemas on Friday, May 31st

An actress (Léa Seydoux) against green screen rehearses a scene in a house – the director’s voice tells her where the stairs and other features are in relation to her position and marks on the floor. With these minimal visuals but with the addition of music and full sound effects, she works through the scene up to the point where she sees the terrifying shadow of the Beast on a wall and screams. Consciously or unconsciously, this echoes the screen test on the boat of Ann Darrow (Fay Wray) in King Kong (Merian C. Cooper, Ernest B. Schoedsack, 1933) as she is required to scream at an unseen, gargantuan monster for the camera.

As in Kong, this scene anticipates one that will play out later in the film.… Read the rest

Categories
Features Live Action Movies

La Syndicaliste
(lit. The Union Rep,
US: The Sitting Duck)

Director – Jean-Paul Salomé – 2022 – France – Cert. 15 – 121m

***1/2

After a smart and tough-talking woman union rep in the nuclear power industry is attacked, tied up and raped in her own home, the police suggest she may have staged the attack herself – out in UK cinemas on Friday, June 30th

Or, as its opening title states in the English subtitled print shown to press, La Syndicaliste Based On A True Story. That title comes after an opening in 2012 in which police are called to the home of Maureen Kearney (Isabelle Huppert) where her cleaning lady has freed her from a chair to which she was tied before being raped by an intruder. The forensic team are all over the premises, taking away evidence. At the police station, she requests a pad and pencil to write down the details of what happened. The police will later accuse Kearney of fabricating the whole incident herself.

The next half an hour or so is a flashback leading up to the incident. Immediately after the titles, it sets about establishing its heroine as a tireless campaigner for employee rights at French state-owner nuclear power company Areva, standing up for ruthlessly exploited workers in an Hungarian subsidiary and well in with Anne Lauvergeon (Marina Fois), the one female executive in an otherwise male boardroom who despite her reliability and excellent track record is being forced out, with as she later tells Maureen lots of dirty tricks used against her.… Read the rest