‘Barbara': Film Review | Cannes 2017

Jeanne Balibar stars as Barbara, a French thespian who found celebrity in a 1960s, in this biographical play written, destined by and co-starring Mathieu Amalric.

Actor-writer-director Mathieu Amalric and actor-singer Jeanne Balibar compensate bend to one of France’s many surprising and means mid-20th century chanteuses with Barbara. A self-eating lizard of a film about a executive (Amalric) and a singer-actress (Balibar) perplexing themselves to make a film about a French thespian Barbara (who was innate Monique Serf in 1930), this is a self-reflexive and infrequently screamingly lush work that’s particularly for hardcore French viewers and festivals. And yet, it still manages to be fitfully compelling, interjection generally to Balibar and a genuine Barbara, who died in 1997 though appears around via film clips and songs.

No doubt reduction forgiving viewers will brawl that this film hardly has any plot, a position unfit to dispute. It meanders along Parisian bridges and streets, and by provincial towns and film sets, hardly bothering a flattering small conduct with such paltry concerns as impression development, story beats or resolution. Indeed, a vibe is suggestive of a likewise disconnected and infrequently desirable On Tour, a underline Amalric done dual cinema behind (before a some-more mainstream mystery-thriller The Blue Room) about a French upholder holding a cackle of American mime performers to venues around a country.

However, there’s something superbly honest about a meta-method Amalric and co-writer Philippe Di Folco have chosen. For one thing, a consistent glimpses of a genuine Barbara behaving on theatre or in a films she done herself (at one indicate she effectively sings a “duet” with Balibar) does something really few required low-pitched biopics ever do: It truly honors a subject’s talent by vouchsafing a work literally pronounce for itself.

Meanwhile, Balibar, personification acclaimed singer Brigitte, who has been hired by Amalric’s Yves to play Barbara for his film-within-the-film, gets to uncover off her not unsubstantial low-pitched talent with interpretations of Barbara’s songs. It’s apparent that Balibar doesn’t have Barbara’s operation or virginity of tone, though she’s rather good during mimicking a phrasing, demonstrating a genuine musician’s bend for another artist’s work. (Pedro Costa’s documentary Change Nothing showcases Balibar’s possess songwriting skills with his evil exhaustively prolonged takes.)

She’s even improved during mimicking Barbara’s odd, mincing gestures, her ethereal loftiness that sheltered a terrible fragility, wrought by a awful childhood spent stealing from a Nazis and after being abused by her father. Physically, with her whip-thin figure and bony features, she’s a excellent fit for a striking-looking Barbara, who could stone a black feathered dress like nobody’s business. Pascaline Chavanne’s slouchy, textural costumes, an album’s value of knitwear tinge poems, yield visible seductiveness during some of a duller stretches.  

The filmmakers have enlisted some excellent ancillary players to come along for a ride, though infrequently conjunction Aurore Clement as Barbara’s gambling-addicted mom nor Gregoire Colin as her submissive manager Charley Marouani are used to most effect. French jazz accordionist Vincent Peirani fares a small improved with some-more shade time and chances to uncover off his low-pitched chops as Barbara’s unchanging co-operator Roland Romanelli — nonetheless Yves, played by a petite Amalric, complains that a soaring Peirani is too high to play Romanelli, call chuckles from a audience.

Production companies: A Waiting for Cinema, Gaumont, France 2 Cinema, Aliceleo production
Cast: Jeanne Balibar, Mathieu Amalric, Vincent Peirani, Fanny Imber, Aurore Clement, Gregoire Colin
Director: Mathieu Amalric
Screenwriters: Mathieu Amalric, Philippe Di Folco
Producer: Patrick Godeau
Director of photography: Christophe Beaucarne
Production designer: Laurent Baude
Costume designer: Pascaline Chavanne
Editor: Francois Gedigier
Venue: Cannes Film Festival (Un Certain Regard)

97 minutes

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