It's experimental, artistic, visually beautiful, and there is this French new wave vibes that I love. Totally recommend!
The French Teacher
The French Teacher
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Cleo, middle aged teacher who is grappling with complicated personal dilemmas. Hesitantly, she begins an affair with Matthew, one of her students who is half her age. After the death of her father, her daughter Sophie returns home from New York to stay with her. The already fraught relationship between mother and daughter is intensified when a triangle emerges between Cleo, Sophie and Matthew. The present collides with the past, as long-buried family issues are unearthed in this complex, inter generational drama.
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Operatic Art Film
Young Matthew has no idea what lies ahead of him when he becomes involved romantically with his middle-aged French language teacher Cleo. What seems like an inconsequential affair becomes melodramatic when Cleo's daughter Sophie arrives on the scene. At that point, Matthew is relegated to the background as the two women engage in a protracted cat fight culminating in the shootout at Big Bear.
One of the conversations at the dinner table was a discussion of the French filmmakers Jean-Luc Goddard and Francois Truffaut. Stylistically, "The French Teacher" is a cross between the two styles. Many of the scenes are punctuated with lengthy lyrical interludes scored with the music of Mozart.
While film buffs who are partial to French New Wave (Nouvelle vague) cinema might enjoy this retrospective offering, the sluggish pace and overkill on atmosphere may be annoying to other filmgoers like this one. The love-hate relationship of Cleo and Sophie took over the film with the heavy subtext of the mother's past infidelities. It was as if Cleo and Sophie were the reincarnation of Clytemnestra and Electra in modern Los Angeles where they were rehashing their lives in the form of an opera worthy of Verdi!
By the end, one may be thinking of the French drama "No Exit" (Huis Clos) about three characters trapped in a room for eternity with nothing to do but torment one another. The tagline for Sartre's play is "hell is other people." At least for poor Matthew, he had to feel the Sartrian claustrophobia in the Big Bear cabin as he asks himself the question, "What have I got myself into?"
Truffaut or Goddard?
Marie Laurin likes both Goddard and Truffaut. But her daughter, Anna Maiche, and Laurin's young boyfriend,Sean Patrick McGowan both prefer Truffaut. This is a crucial bit because although intergenerational attractions can happen at any times, it is the cultural proclivities that matter. The connections to someone your own age are deeply cultural. You both grew up listening to the same music and watching the same films. The degree that time changes cultural views and experiences weighs heavily on a couple who were born many years apart. McGowan is a musician who wants to compose film scores. Maiche wants to make films. Laurin has a great music collection. They all end up in the same bed. The truth comes out about Laurin's affairs which drove her husband to kill himself and try to kill her. The death of Laurin's father brings her daughter back. They both face the truth and reconcile. McGowan will be part of their family in the future.