Le carnet de Mam'zelle Lulu

26 février 2007

'C'est parce que j'ai mis des talons'

(left : the genuine Edith Piaf / right : the actress Marion Cotillard)

This week-end, I've seen La Môme. It's a French movie by Olivier Dahan that retraces Edith Piaf's life, a French singer. That's the kind of movie I'm supposed to love : a true story, a historical background, a bit of drama... Well, I didn't liked it, for one simple reason : I didn't understand anything ! The truth is, I didn't knew much about Piaf's life before going. I never saw her singing on TV, unlike my father. She's an artist from one or two generations ago. And the scenario is like a puzzle : it is all muddle up ! It starts when she’s a child, then goes when she’s old, then back to her childhood, then when she’s a woman, then back to her teen years, and so on… So half of the time, I was like : hum, who’s that character ? Is that the same I saw on the previous sequence but older ? Or someone else ? Hence I didn’t enjoy the film quite much. Too much concentration needed.

However, some good points that make the film worth seeing :
● Marion Cotillard, the actress who plays Edith Piaf, is remarkable ! She really incarnates the singer admirably ! Bravo Marion ! (Even if she had way too much make-up on her face to my mind !)
● One other good side of the movie is the setting : a view of popular Paris during the 2nd WW and the fifties.
● And of course, the music ! Marion is always singing in play-back. So basically the whole soundtrack is sung by Edith herself. It was nice to hear all those old songs once again.

By the way, I've got a funny anecdote about Edith Piaf. Last year my Taiwanese flatmate would ask me to listen to French music. So I gave him CDs of all the groups I used to listen to (Telephone, Indochine, Noir Désir, Louise Attaque, that kind of things - that is to say French rock). He told me it was not his kind of music. So I presented him some "variété française" artists, you know, such as J.J. Goldmann, Patrick Bruel and so on… They're all sooooo popular in France. He wasn't very happy with it. Then we accidentally came across a song from Edith Piaf. He loved it ! He said it looks like very typical and old French music (and it obviously is !). So I downloaded all the songs from Edith Piaf I could find for him, and that's how a new fan of this old singer was born :))) Maybe I'll make new fans today, who knows ? Ladies & gentlemen, this is La Vie en Rose :

25 février 2007

The cutest website ever

I'd like to share something today : one of the most delightful website I know. It's called Orisinal and you can find there plenty of little games. Each game features lovely characters and comes with a light ambiance music. The design is sooo beautiful ! Those are really the cutest games ever ! My favorite one is "bugs". I can spent hours jumping on bubbles to make the ladybugs fly off... So check it out, I'm sure you're gonna love it !

19 février 2007

'Est-ce que vous aimez le disco ?'

GénériQ is a music festival that is sometimes said to be the "Eurockéennes matching festival for winter". From february 16th to 27th, eclectic concerts take place in Dijon, Belfort, Besançon and Mulhouse. I’ve been to one of those this week-end. It was featuring Jack Penate, Babet and Chikinki. I had a good time. And for once, it was allowed to take pictures of the artists. Unfortunately I didn't have anymore batteries in my camera. I was so upset I didn't check the batteries before going, but usually it is forbidden to take pictures there ! Anyway, it was a good concert, in a little place, and the spectators weren't too numerous, so I think it was just fine. I like big rooms fulled with hysteric fanatics, but something a more intimate ambiance is good too.

Jack Penate

First of all, Jack Penate. The new “web phenomen” according to those who are a little bit too eager about myspace. Hum, to tell the truth, I wasn’t convinced by his show. Okay, the guy can move his legs, but that’s not enough for me. I don’t go to a concert to watch a crazy stooge, but to listen to good live music. And that’s maybe what was missing with Jack’s music : songs with a true melody and a strong beat, you know, songs able to make people dance and enjoy themselves. They were only three on scene : a bass, a battery and him and his guitar. Clearly that wasn’t enough to produce decent music. Try again, Jack.


The delightful find of the evening was the lovely Babet. She’s not a complete stranger, she used to be a part of Dionysos, one of the most successful rock bands of the time in France. She is walking on her way alone, now. Her debut album is to be released at the beginning of march 2007. It was her second concert in solo. And that was really great. This tiny woman (she must be 1,50 m height, ok, perhaps 1,60 m) has much more charisma than Jack Penate. With her violin, her guitar and her two mates, she entertains the whole audience. She’s the kind of artist it is worth seeing on stage. Not to mention to her music : wonderful folk-rock songs that talk about love, travels and life. With the imaginary and marvellous atmosphere I already loved in Dionysos music. She creates her own fantastic world : a blend of poetry and exuberance, associated to rock’n’roll. And a bit of disco, too !


And last but not least, the worthy successors of The Libertines : Chikinki. One of them, actually. English rock bands are not a disappearing species, as everybody knows. So this time, they come from Bristol, they’re English and foolish, they have a punk-rock style. They rock, babe ! Even with one member of the group missing, they were great and everybody had a lot of fun during their show. They might not overtake Franz Ferdinand, but they’re talented enough to provide enjoyment to their spectators. Why asking more?

+ To go further : Jack's myspace // Babet's myspace // Chikinki's website

Xin Nian Hao

Good-bye dogs, welcome pigs... I don't use to celebrate the Lunar New Year, but some of my friends do. So I wish you all a very good pig year 2007 !

Bonne année ! :]

10 février 2007

London, The Good, The Bad, The Queen and me

According to this test, I belong in London. Because London is diverse and international enough to satisfy many of my tastes (yeah, I've nothing better to do than checking on stupid - yet funny - websites of that kind). Well, we have a bit of time ahead us before I'll move to London, I tell you.
Anyway, for those of us who don't have the chance to live in the UK, here is a little something to cheer you up : twelve songs about this grey and beautiful city that is the capital of England. How comes ? The Good, The Bad & The Queen is a kind of concept album, supposed to be "a postcard from London" (as Damon Albarn, the leader of the group, said in NME) . The group is composed by Tony Allen, Paul Simonon (Clash), Simon Tong (The Verve) and Damon Albarn (Blur, Gorillaz). They're not really the worst musicians I know... Their new project is already a hit : the album have been certified gold in the UK. I didn't have the disc in my hands, but I overheard a couple of songs here and there, and I can tell you I'm very enthusiastic about what I listened to so far. I can't wait to listen to the whole thing !

+ To go further : the group's myspace // the website // NME review

07 février 2007

'He was a friend of mine'

Brokeback Mountain

Some critics presented Brokeback Mountain as "a gay western". Well, I’m afraid this film is not a western. Brokeback Mountain is a love story. There are scenic landscapes, boots and jeans trousers, a bit of rodeo… the whole package for a good western movie, that’s true. But, the western bit is just a background to this beautiful film. What Ang Lee portrays here is a love story. A love story between two guys, right, but a love story all the same.

Some critics said that Heath Ledger was overplaying, and that his fake accent was ridiculous. That’s what I read somewhere. Once again, I don't agree with that point of view. I think this actor is outstanding in that role. He plays a rough guy, although his performance is all in restraint. The same cannot be said about Jake Gyllenhaal. He’s a good actor, for sure, but I wasn’t as mesmerized by his part as I was by Heath Ledger.

Until last year, some people though the novel by Annie Proulx (published in the New Yorker in 1999) was impossible to adapt for the cinema. Ang Lee made them wrong. He provides us a stunning movie. He develops the psychology of the two main characters over 20 years, he makes them grow, he films them clogging into the society’s outlaws. He captures the consequences of an impossible love with talent.

+ To go further : the film's website

05 février 2007

'Te necesito, mamá'


Red. This is the first thing you notice : the bright colour of the film's poster, and the flowery patterns that surround Penélope Cruz's face. And her eyes. Yes, her eyes : all smoky, deep and expressive… At some extend, it sums up quite rightly the film's atmosphere. A feminine fable, full of passionate characters, that Pedro Almodóvar films in the orange-coloured ambiance of south Spain.

I didn't like that film so much, due to two main reasons : first of all, I think I've seen too many good films in a short lapse of time. This is not to the advantage of Volver. Then, the pseudo-fantastic thing does not work with me. But I agree it gives the movie an off-time atmosphere, where gossips and superstitions are in the middle of the scene. I know it's supposed to be part of the charm of the film, but this is simply not credible to me. It's "too much". That's only my opinion, though. Volver remains however a very good film. The actresses, each and every one of them, are wonderful. I totally agree with the Cannes' decision to award them as a group.

This movies raises the themes of mother-daughter relationships, of coming-backs and forgiveness. It also deals with the idea that sometimes you just reproduce your parents' actions, you know, unconsciously. The example of Raimunda, the character played by Penélope Cruz, and Yohana Cobo, her daughter in the film, is flagrant and overwhelming to me. They don't exactly live the same story, but there is a kind of calamity about men on them. Most generally, men have a bad image, when they're not simply absent, in the film. This is all about women, brave and strong women. Women with a "red" temper.

+ To go further : the film's website

04 février 2007

Shrigley's absurd drawings

David Shrigley

The first time I noticed his work, it was last year, on the walls of Glasgow. David Shrigley is the artist who designed the posters for the Triptych Festival. At this time I took pictures of those posters, thinking "wow, how cool is that!", but I had no idea who this artist was. Then I did a little bit of research, as curious as I am, and I found informations about him on the web and in The List, a Scotland-based magazine. And finally, last week, I remembered those posters again when I read his interview in one of my favourite music magazine : Les Inrocks (Fr).

David Shrigley graduated from Glasgow School of Art. Well known as a cartoonist for The Guardian, he also makes sculptures, paintings and animations. He has directed the video for Blur's Good Song. His drawings are both humorous and bizarre and his artworks are very simply designed. He confesses himself in Les Inrocks that it took him about 5 minutes to conceive the London Tube Map.

On the header above, you can see some of the Triptych posters on the left, and the famous London Tube Map on the right.

+ To go further : Shrigley's website

'You need to wake-up, now'

an inconvenient truth

Last week, I went to the projection of An Inconvenient truth, the film directed by Davis Guggenheim and starring Al Gore. It was followed by a debate with a scientist and a politician. The first part of the evening, the projection of the documentary, was brilliant. The debate was really less interesting.

Inviting a scientist was a great idea, but I would have invited someone else than this political guy. Maybe no one else agreed to come… So. This man just monopolized the micro. He was talking all the time and boring everyone with loads of numbers and statistics. And promoting his own political party, of course. At one point, I really had the impression to be at a political meeting, and I didn't come to this event for that purpose, really not. The scientist guy was much more intersting, however he couldn't say one little word. Actually, even then he managed to tell a couple of silliness. *Sigh*

The best one is really Al Gore. His speech was clear and not soporific at all. He demonstrates what the global warming is, and why we should worry about it, giving the most obvious evidence : the ten hottest ten years on record have occurred in the last 14 years. It is not over-dramatic though. Al Gore adds his views on what can be done and gives you tips to be a carbon-free citizen.
I think this is a necessary film, and I strongly avise you to go to watch him, if it's not done already !

+ To go further : the film's website // StopGlobalWarming.org

02 février 2007

5 randoms things about me

I took that questionnaire at Candy Cane's, but I think half of the blogosphere already answered to it. So, here is 5 things you don't know yet about me :

● I got my driving license only 5 days after my 18th birthday (the legal age to drive in France). I don't know anybody who did better than me. I'm very proud of this.

● When I was a child, I used to have a salamander as a pet. I kept it on an aquarium. There is people out there who never saw a salamander in their life ! I also used to adopt dogs, cats, rabbits, goldfishes, poneys, miniature hens, a one-leg dove... Growing up in the middle of the countryside is fun, I tell you !

● When I passed the bac (equivalent to the A-level in the UK), I told my parents I failed. Well… that day, I realised my parents don't have any sense of humour.

● The first CD I bought with my own money was Louise Attaque, back in college. It still is one of my favourites albums nowadays.

● I loooove to take pictures. More than a hobby, it's a sickness, a drug, whatever… I'm a camera junkie ! But, wait a minute… that's something you already know about me, don't you ? :]