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The big bayou and a homage to Woody

DEEP SOUTH: A scene from Beast of the Southern Wild above and Paris-Manhattan below.
DEEP SOUTH: A scene from Beast of the Southern Wild above and Paris-Manhattan below.

Title: Paris-Manhattan

Director: Sophie Lellouche

Rated: PG

Woody Allen films are really a genre unto themselves, and even though Paris-Manhattan is not technically a Woody film, it is definitely an odd and interesting celebration of his movies while also being a well written and charming French romantic comedy. The movie is the debut feature for writer/director Sophie Lellouche.

Alice Ovitz (Alice Taglioni) is a dreamer, a lovely and lonely pharmacist running a family business in Paris. Her bedroom wall features a large poster of Woody Allen whom she idolises. She converses regularly with the poster which 'replies' with dialogue excerpts from Woody Allen movies. She even dispenses Allen DVDs to pharmacy customers to address their ailments.

While her matchmaking parents (Michel Aumont and Marie-Christine Adam) keep arranging unsuitable introductions she somehow comes up with two possible suitors Victor (Patrick Bruel) and Vincent (Yannick Soulier), and then an accidental meeting on a Paris street brings a possible sweet resolution.

This light French soufflé rom-com provides a fascinating mix of Woody Allen's philosophies on the vagaries of life with the poignant self discovery of reluctant lovers finding each other.

Paris-Manhattan will be screened at Star Court Theatre, Lismore Sunday Jan 20 at 5.30pm and Friday Jan 25 at 7.30pm.

Title: Beasts of the Southern Wild

Director: Benh Zeitlin

Rated: M

From the first moment some very special films have an absolutely captivating quality, an originality and an earthy visceral reality that is almost surreal. Beasts of the Southern Wild is such a film, and for all its incredibly rough hewn setting it sustains a strange and powerful beauty, and also a remarkable performance by its young star.

This singular and uncompromising fantasy drama is the debut feature by New York director Benh Zeitlin, co-written with Lucy Albion and based on her one-act play Juicy and Delicious.

Six year old Hushpuppy (Quvenzhané Wallis) lives her with fierce, tough loving father Wink (Dwight Henry) in a fringe dwelling impoverished community in the southern Louisiana bayou called Bathtub. Cut off from the outside world by a levee Hushpuppy faces a world in crisis with massive storms and flooding, the ice caps melting and prehistoric creatures called aurochs roaming the land.

Everything about this film is stunning: the people, the story, the place, the symbolism and survival instincts, and above all the startling performance by Wallis, the youngest actress ever nominated for an Oscar. Not to be missed.

Beasts of the Southern Wild will be screened at Star Court Theatre, Lismore on Sunday Jan 27 at 5.30pm and Friday Feb 1 at 7.30pm.


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