Ma vie de Courgette(2016) and Being 17 (2016) Review

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Ma vie de Courgette is the latest film from the not-so-well-known French director Claude Barras. This film is about a young boy who, after accidentally killing his mother gets sent to an orphanage, following his experiences and the friendships he makes along the way after the children there being initially hostile.

The stop motion here is of incredible quality, with expressive characters and highly detailed visuals creating an immersive experience. What is even better here is the story, with each kid coming from an unfortunate background and having their own distinct personalities. There are many moments that are highly emotional, contrasted with excellent comedy that utilises the personalities of the characters in slapstick forms, as well as those stemming from the naive childrens understandings of adult behaviours.

Clocking in at 65 minutes, the pacing of this film is perfect and is a genuinely heartwarming film. There’s not much else to say about the film except that it’s wonderful and you should see it.

9/10

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Being 17 is the latest from French director Andre Techine, which is about two high school boys who are antagonistic towards each other, one an adopted child of farmers and the other from the nearby town. The film follows their relationship as it changes.

Techine here takes his time investing each character, even the minor characters, as genuine human beings, but at times the film still feels like it drags occassionally. There are plenty of scenes of the sort of realistically awkward adolescent fighting that typically occurs in high schools. The film is also visually fantastic, with each act  taking us through different seasons, starting with winter and the cold, rural mountainside being truly great.

The two boys learn to tolerate each other and become friends and eventually (spoilers) lovers. This part, which became the focus of the second act going into the third act and I felt this romance was a bit contrived and degraded the film. While this didn’t come totally out of nowhere, at least with character Damien’s (picture left in the image above) advances onto Tom (pictured right in the image above), the coming-to-fruition of this relationship in awkward kissing and gay sex scenes was out of place and felt very forced. Up until then, the film was a very good drama.

While this film is very well made and visually interesting, the film becomes undone with it’s unnecessary same sex romance plot. If you don’t like films with this sort of content, stay far away, but if that is your cup of tea or you don’t mind this sort of thing, you’ll probably like the film more than I did.

6.5/10

 

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