REVIEW: ‘La Binoche’ swaps partners, melts down, in ‘Both Sides of the Blade’

Film · Reviews

Why does a movie stick in your head and haunt you for days after viewing? That was my experience with director Claire Denis’ latest, BOTH SIDES OF THE BLADE (2022), opening in theaters July 8 and streaming July 23. It surely has to do with the shattering intimacy of Juliette Binoche‘s beautifully modulated performance as “Sara,” an entitled Parisienne, who, by day, is a radio broadcaster, and, by night, ping-pongs between two guys.

It’s a French When Harry Met Sally!

When Sara met Jean (Vincent London), she was with Francois (Grégoire Colin) — and changed partners. Then, when the two guys reconnect, Sara again plays musical chairs — only to find she’s the odd woman out.

Yes, we’re in France — where women philander as well. Also very French is the film’s talkiness. The prime subject of conversation? L’amour. I couldn’t get enough of the lengthy discourses on the meaning of relationships, but I roll that way.

As for Binoche, the camera loves this brumous-eyed actress, who is aging spectacularly. With her Mona Lisa smile, she’s as gorgeous as Garbo. Movie features a marvelous character turn by no less than Bulle Ogier — playing a grandma!

Arts journalist Debra Levine is founder/editor/publisher of arts●meme.


BOTH SIDES OF THE BLADE | Laemmle Royal Theater | opens July 8

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Pianist Jamael Dean, jazz virtuoso, to tap spiritual vein @ Piano Spheres

Music

Sick.’ “Dig.’ ‘Respect.’ ‘Space Music.’ ‘Wow.’ ‘Just Wow.’ ‘Lovely.’
Jamael is a beast.’ ‘That drummer is on fire.’

These and other laudatory comments are posted on youtubecom in response to a 2020 video, “Kronos” streaming above. The man behind this music, the keyboard cat in the long braids, is Jamael Dean, a jazz prodigy whose c.v. includes collaborations with Kamasi Washington, Thundercat, Miguel Atwood-Ferguson and Carlos Niño.

As part of Piano Sphere‘s annual summer jazz series, Dean will share his music on Saturday, July 23, at Thayer Hall of The Colburn School, in downtown Los Angeles — a very serene room with great acoustics. It augurs a very mellow summer evening of free flowing “spiritual” jazz in the vein of Jamael’s Los Angeles contemporaries and jazz ancestors: Sun Ra, Alice Coltrane, Herbie Hancock and soul jazz drummer Donald Dean — his grandfather. It might be just the thing to calm your jangled nerves after the barrage of fireworks this Fourth of July.

Born in 1998 in Bakersfield, California, Dean was introduced to music at a young age and initially started out on violin. At nine, he was given a keyboard and learned to play by ear — guided by his grandfather. By his teens he was attending the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts, and a membership in the 2014-2016 Thelonious Monk Institute National Performing Arts High School Septet, winning a 2016 Dolo Coker Scholarship, and earning a spot on the 2016 Grammy Band Jazz Combo. His talent also caught the attention of players on the greater Los Angeles jazz scene, including saxophonist Washington and bassist/singer Thundercat. He began expanding his interests, crafting electronic beats on his computer and merging jazz, funk, and hip-hop.

When asked why he lives in Los Angeles, Jamael replied, “It’s the only place I can go in the same day to a jam session with music from the ’20s and ’30s to another session with music in the ’40s through the ’80s, and after that, play music with my friends into the future.”

Jamael Dean | Piano Spheres Summer Jazz Series | Colburn School of Music | Sat July 23, 8 pm

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Summer salsa ‘stravaganza swarms Music Center

Architecture & Design · Dance · Theater
There’s quite a bit of ‘competition’ out there. Los Angeles has performing arts centers in abundance–in Beverly Hills, Santa Monica, Long Beach, Costa Mesa, Northridge, and Malibu. But there’s only one mothership, and that is the Los Angeles Music Center, a cultural anchor in our city since 1964. Home to the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, Ahmanson ...

Happy Queen’s Jubilee from the Commonwealth’s indigenous artists

Visual arts
Vincent Namatjira. Elizabeth and Vincent (on Country), 2021.  Acrylic on linen. 48 x 60 inches. © Vincent Namatjira/ Courtesy the artist and Fort Gansevoort A vibrant-looking, good humored show from an unusual clutch of artists — Vincent Namatjira, Kaylene Whiskey, and Tiger Yaltangki, three leading members of the indigenous Indulkana Community in the northwestern region ...

Al Hirschfeld draws a dancin’ man

Dance · Theater · Visual arts
Everyone knows that arts journalist Al Hirschfeld, whose theatrical caricatures accompanied Sunday New York Times feature articles about Broadway openings, was a genius. But The Line King‘s rendering of Bob Fosse in 1978, on the occasion of the opening of his no-book, all-dance musical Dancin’, got my attention. I can’t stop looking at … … ...

‘Garden of Alla’s theatrical delights 2

Theater
Alla Nazimova, nee Miriam Edez Adelaida Leventon, as Camille, and at the Garden of Alla in Los Angeles Joni Mitchell, a resident in nearby Laurel Canyon, said it best: “They paved paradise and put up a parking lot.” She was referencing, in song, the demolition of a 2.5 acre property at the south-west corner of ...

‘Apples’: clever Greek film probes universal pandemic experience

Film · Reviews
Who among us has not suffered mal-effects of isolation and removal from normal public existence in the aftermath of a two-year pandemic shutdown? Episodes of confusion, mixing the days of the week, forgetting appointments, losing and misplacing objects. These obfuscations are happening way too often as we reconstitute our lives prior to COVID-19. The profundity ...

Grotesqueries courtesy of Spanish performance artist Marta Carrasco

Dance · Theater
photo: david ruano An intriguing woman artist from Spain is being presented in multiple performances by the Latino Theater Company at the L.A. Theater Center downtown. It’s the dancer, choreographer and performance artist Marta Carrasco, in a show with an equally intriguing title, Perra de Nadie (“Nobody’s Bitch”). Well, that’s a nice girly name. [We ...

Love as a one-way street at the Panorama

Film
She won’t stop writing to me — e-mails, letters, texts, cards — but it’s not merely because I hardly know her that I no longer reply. It is the increasingly demanding tone, and the fact that a romance is gaining momentum without my needing to be involved.-Unrequited Love, by Gregory Dart You’ve heard of a ...

‘Pride month’ salutes film producer Harriet Parsons at UCLA Film Archive 1

Film
louella, harriet parsons, 1959 Along with Virginia Van Upp at Columbia Pictures and Joan Harrison at Universal, Harriet Parsons (1906-1983) was one of the very few women to make her mark in the industry as a feature film producer in the 1940s. Parsons got her start at Columbia creating myriad uncredited newsreel-like “documentary” shorts in ...