Strong female film characters on parade @ COL*COA

Film · Reviews


French actress Jeanne Moreau, platinum blonde and wrapped in a feather boa, poses in vast ennui in BAY OF ANGELS (1963) written and directed by Jacques Demy.

Moreau plays a bored upper class housewife on an existential bender in the south of France. She gloms onto a young drifter, Jean, first by his pocketbook and then by his mind body and soul. Moving into Jean’s sordid hotel room, she wafts about clad in a white teddy and black peignoir.

Quickly co-dependent, the two bring each other good and bad luck, in hopeless bouts of hope and despair, at the roulette table. On the lam, they escape reality on a private casino tour of the Riviera.

Demy’s gambling addicts descend into a glamorous underworld to the sound of Michel Legrand’s cascading piano score. A brilliant small film.

du-vent-dans-mes-molletsA massive Barbie-doll play date, only one of the beautifully observed joys of THE DANDELIONS, a female coming-of-age movie by director Carine Tardieu.

Rachel is the only child of doting parents. The over protected lass, already in psychotherapy at age nine, crosses paths with Valérie, a mischievous scamp who liberates the repressed Rachel with gleeful girl-on-girl fun. The retro-family comedy, set in the 1980s, features Agnès Jaoui as a Rachel’s neurotic falafel-frying Jewish mother.

There’s girlhood magic on view in this film.


Lovely French actress Catherine Frot, starring in HAUTE CUISINE, transfixes as Hortense Laborie (loosely based on real life presidential chef Danièle Delpeuch), the talented cuisinière François Mitterand names as the first female chef cooking at the Palais Elysée.

Installed in a “private kitchen” in the serpentine basement of the Palais, she bonds with her boss through his belly. She cooks Le Prez his favorite, much-desired Mommy food.

The film’s salivating food preparations pair not just with wine but with writer/director Christian Vincent’s natural handling of a powerful woman’s story.

COL*COA, French film festival | thru Monday April 22 | schedule here

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