Preview by: Jack Foley
HOLLYWOOD is having to look over its shoulder more and more given
the abundance of talent that is unveiling itself in world cinema.
Japan, Hong Kong, Spain and France have delivered some of the
most breathtaking films of recent years and their output shows
no sign of diminishing.
France, especially, has delivered some modern classics in recent
years, such as Amelie, A
Very Long Engagement and The Chorus
(to name but three).
But there is plenty to look forward to in the works, with Arsene
Lupin leading the pack as evidence of the country's continuing
confidence in its movie-making ability.
The film is being billed as 'an unusual mix of costume drama,
martial arts and computer-generated imagery' and has already proved
a box office smash in its homeland.
Based on the 1924 novel by Maurice Leblanc, the film stars Kristin
Scott Thomas and Romain Duris as, respectively, an immortal countess-cum-jewellery
thief and a gentleman thief who is also adept at magic.
It has earned a number of rave reviews
in France, with the website, Europeanfilms.net advising that if
you 'indulge in this two hour fantasy of this rakish burglar in
an exquisitely imagined Paris and Normandy, you will come away
entertained, amused and delighted'.
Speaking about the resurgence in French cinema, the film's co-star,
Kristin Scott Thomas, recently told BBC World Service's The Ticket
programme that Arsene Lupin is typical of a new approach to film-making
in France, inspired by the success of films like Amelie.
"I think it's very exciting, because for a long time in
France 'commercial' was a dirty word," she commented. "Now
it's OK to make a lot of money with the films that you're making."
The actress went on to say that she feels French directors have
begun making a wide variety of films now that they feel they 'don't
have to reply to the American market so much'.
As a result, there is more for audiences to choose from and enjoy,
without feeling they are merely playing catch-up to Hollywood.
"We're far more independent really, so we are able to make
all sorts of different films - from very small, intimate problems
to fantastic, all-singing, all-dancing things like Arsene Lupin,"
The film is due for a UK release later this year.