Wild Reeds (1994) from
|"Wild Reeds", aka
"Les Roseaux Sauvages" is a lovely
coming-of-age movie that takes place in the south of
France in the early 60's, amid a backdrop of the was in
Algeria. It could never have been made in The US. One of
the 4 young people involved in the plot discovers he is
gay -- that is not breaking new ground. What is unique,
however, is that all of the others accept it, and treat
it as natural. Elodie plays the only girl of the
foursome. She is bright, independent, highly political
and not ready for sex. A less than ideal home life has
soured her on the idea of traditional marriage, and she
"can't decide whether to make love to everyone or
nobody -- they are the same thing."
|Something that has been nagging at me
since I started watching foreign films is the fact that
these European actresses all have an incredible charm
that erupts from the screen, even with the language
barrier. They have a joy of life, and an incredible human
appeal no matter what the role. Very few modern American
actresses have the same quality.
Bouchez is topless briefly in two camera set-ups.
seem to me that this was always the case. Audrey Hepburn
had it. Shirley MacLaine had it in her early roles. Sandy
Duncan had it. Goldie Hawn has it. I now think I know
what "it" is. American actresses do everything
they can to capture the camera -- plastic surgery,
silicone implants, severe makeup, starvation dieting and
carefully controlled acting on set. European actresses
integrate their personalities into the role, and then
allow the camera to capture them. In the first case, a
movie becomes a series of sequential photographs,
carefully posed, and devoid of personality or charm. This
probably stems from the American woman's compulsion to
live up to the Madison Avenue image of the ideal woman. I
prefer the European attitude by far. Many frames
definitely do not show Elodie at her most beautiful, yet
it all certainly makes her appealing. I suspect that a
Hollywood actress would sue the studio if expressions
like this made the final cut.
comments: For better or worse, I agree with Tuna that it
is unlikely that someone looking like Elodie Bouchez
would become a star in Hollywood, except in character
roles like the ones played by Janeane Garofalo or Jane
Adams. She may have the talent, but her non-standard
looks would hold her back from leading roles.
I think the movie
could get made in the USA, but not as a studio film. It
would have to be an indie. It is a sensitive and
affecting movie, a slice-of-life with no contrived plot
development. Many consider it a classic already. I like
it, but don't recommend it if you aren't predisposed to
enjoy foreign films.
some American actresses manage to achieve what Tuna is
talking about. For example, Annette Bening.
- With their
votes ... IMDB summary: IMDb voters
score it 7.9, classic level! This is even
better than the critical consensus.
guideline: 7.5 usually indicates a level of
excellence, about like three and a half stars
from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm
watchability, about like two and a half stars
from the critics. The fives are generally not
worthwhile unless they are really your kind of
material, about like two stars from the critics.
Films under five are generally awful even if you
like that kind of film, equivalent to about one
and a half stars from the critics or less,
depending on just how far below five the rating
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