Let’s be honest. The main appeal of Greta is to see our girl Isabelle Huppert do what she does best: snap. Despite the film’s numerous issues, the ticket price is in fact well-worth the opportunity to bask in the unbridled power of one of the greatest working actresses viciously flipping a restaurant table over in response to getting ghosted (i.e. snap). And that’s just the beginning, baby!
Isabelle Huppert can do anything. And she frequently does. In the past 40+ years she’s acted in over a hundred films in all genres from musical to quirky comedies to WWII era dramas. She’s committed to challenging herself in bold, new ways, continually delivering fierce, complex, and unforgettable performances in roles most actors would be nervous to approach. But perhaps her greatest skill is her withering judgmental stare.
This month, I wanted to choose a director whose work I had little familiarity with, so that I too would get to experience their filmography for the first time. A few recommendations later (thanks Iana!) and I settled on Mia Hansen-Løve, a French filmmaker whose work I had always intended to get around to watching, but never really did – until now. Hansen-Løve’s films have received widespread critical acclaim, in particular, ‘Things to Come’ in 2016, which stars Isabelle Huppert and won the Silver Bear at Berlinale. Her work has been lauded for its muted and empathetic observations on everyday life, a variety of character and attention to human detail, and the slow artistry of her camera. Sure, her films may not be for everyone; they epitomise the leisurely French drama, concerned with intricate relationships, difficult emotions, and the impact of time. For the right viewer, however, Hansen-Løve’s filmography is a luxurious exhibition of real life, and an experience that I would highly recommend.
Fathers and Daughters: ‘All is Forgiven’ (2007) and ‘Father of My Children’ (2009)
First features can often be necessary stumbling blocks for filmmakers. In Hansen-Løve’s case, however, her first two films, which both focus on familial difficulties, immediately landed on their feet, contributing an assured, refined start to her career and easily holding up against her later works.
Much like a lot of Michael Haneke’s work, ‘Happy End’ basks in an amusingly ironic title. Unlike a lot of the prolific director’s films, however, his latest output fails to make much of an emotional impact at all, despite its overbearing bleakness.