NZ Film Festival Special: Incredible Broads
Above: Emmanuelle Seigner in Venus in Fur.
Louise Brooks is so much more than an awesome haircut in Prix de Beauté. In the late 20s, refusing to take a pay cut from her studio, Paramount, the sparky young starlet gave Hollywood the finger and headed to Europe. She made three silent films there, including the landmark Pandora’s Box and this tale of a poor French girl competing to become Miss Europe 1928. The APO provides the accompaniment for this special one-off screening.
And more infamous locks… Orson Welles incited a minor national scandal when he forced his wife, Rita Hayworth, to cut and bleach her long red hair to play femme fatale Elsa Bannister in Lady from Shanghai, a film noir set in San Francisco. She divorced him soon after, and who could blame her. “The weirdest great movie ever made,” critic David Kehr called it: an overwrought narrative mess made wonderful by Welles’ trademark technical brilliance and some action-packed set pieces.
It may have been pipped at the post for the Cannes Palme d’Or by Winter Sleep, also showing at this year’s festival, but Two Days, One Night is hardly running short on swooning acclaim. Set over the course of one weekend, the Dardenne brothers’ social realist drama stars Marion Cotillard in a bravura performance as a woman struggling to convince her co-workers to help save her job.
If a stranger in a van stopped beside you and offered you a ride, would you take it? Okay, would it help if I mentioned the stranger was Scarlett Johansson? Under the Skin, the bizarre and beautiful new film from Jonathan Glazer (Sexy Beast) sees the World’s Most Beautiful Woman™ as a mysterious flesh-eating alien seductress stalking Glasgow in search of fresh man meat. The Nanny Diaries, it ain’t.
Beautiful badass older women — to foreign eyes, France seems to be lousy with them. Like actor-musician Emmanuelle Seigner, whose don’t-fuck-with-me nonchalance probably came in handy during the course of her 25-year marriage to notorious filmmaker Roman Polanski. He directs her in Venus in Fur, in which she plays an erratic and pushy actress auditioning for milquetoast director Mathieu Almaric. Knowing it was inspired by the 1870 novel by Leopold von Sacher-Masoch (after whom sadomasochism is named), you can probably see where this is going.