Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Sophie Fillières Un Chat, Un Chat

Chiara Mastroianni (left) in Un Chat Un Chat

I went out yesterday to catch Sophie Fillieres' Un Chat Un Chat as part of the Cinemania Festival, at the always comfortable and enjoyable Cinema Imperial. Even though it's not really a functioning cinema (per se), there are enough film festivals in this town that any film buff is guaranteed to attend at least one screening per month throughout the year. Last night - a somewhat meandering and unfocused film, not without its own charm, that followed the writer's block of a novelist in Paris. Appropriately enough, it featured Chiara Mastroianni, whose own father Marcello Mastroianni starred in arguably the most important about writer's block and the creative process, Fellini's 8 1/2.

The main thing that attracted me to the film, actually, was Chiara (who you might have heard in Persepolis): particularly the fact that she's the daughter of both Marcello and also Catherine Deneuve, which was not lost on me through the more ponderous moments of the film, when I could pass the time by trying to attribute facial features and tics. In the end, I have to say that her darting, big eyes overwhelmed the more Deneuvian aspects of her face, and she's far more her father's daughter than her mother's.

The film itself follows Chiara's character Nathalie / Célimène, a novelist, through a creative cul-de-sac marked by her somnambulism, apartment renovations, her relationship with her son Adam (played by Mateo Julio Cedron) and her decaying relationship with Malik Zidi's Antoine character, as well as, on top of all of this, her pursuit by Anaïs (played by Agathe Bonitzer, the director's daughter), a well-meaning but pushily persistent and dedicated fan who endeavours to get Nathalie/Célimène to write about her and her life. It's mannered and interesting, if a tad bit slow, but over-all a pleasant and reflective film. Check out the French-language trailer.

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