Elevate Difference

Reviews tagged French

White Material

The title of this grave work derives from Black African slang for Whites and for the objects Whites own, e.g., a gold cigarette lighter (an important symbolic prop in the film). Maria Vial (Isabelle Huppert) is the main white material here, a middle-aged woman trapped by the colonial past and present civil war in an unnamed African country.

Le Refuge (The Refuge)

A film like Francois Ozon’s Le Refuge could only be French. It is beautifully shot, populated with complicated and not and entirely likable characters, and deals with taboo subject matters in a nuanced fashion. The film centers on Mousse (Isabelle Carré), a sharp-tongued young woman who struggles with heroin addiction. When her lover Louis (Melville Poupaud) dies from and overdose and she finds out she’s pregnant, she decides to keep the baby against the wishes of Louis’ aristocratic mother and escapes Paris for a beach-getaway in rural France.

Eleanor the Queen: A Novel of Eleanor of Aquitaine

I have to say... I feel a little duped. There is nothing in the book's presentation to suggest that Eleanor the Queen is a reprint of a 1950s novel by Norah Lofts. Apparently Lofts was a prolific and best-selling author known for her "authentic use of period detail." I hadn’t heard of her, but I don’t follow the historical novel market, I just read them. I did not, however, finish reading this.

Le Code a Changé

The French comedy of manners conjures up for me, an Anglophone, a bitchy Restoration drama rather than Molière. Jean Renoir’s heavy 1939 film The Rules of the Game, the iconic update of the genre, greatly dilutes the comic elements. Now, Le Code a Changé (Change of Plans) offers a lighter brew with only a dash of melancholy.


After running through a gauntlet of elevators and security guards at the Sony Tower in midtown Manhattan, I entered a small screening room to see the French film Micmacs.

Things Seen

From the baby carriage to the grave, life unfolds more and more between the shopping center and the television set. – Annie Ernaux Born in 1940, and a published author since 1974, Annie Ernaux is known for writing in depth about her own life: her parents, her marriage, her abortion, and later, her breast cancer.

Dark Heart of the Night

The gross reality of genocide brings one’s spirit to feel a deep sadness for groups and individuals who don't understand different cultures. Delineating a brutal world of power and defeat, the author of Dark Heart of the Night doesn't hold back and the shocking truth of this topic engenders an incredulous curiosity in the reader: how can a village not support their people, even those who are related to some in the village?

King Kong Theory: A Manifesto For Women Who Can’t Or Won’t Obey The Rules

King Kong Theory is most easily my favourite read so far this year; it packs a punch and voices everything I feel about our oppressive patriarchal society. This work is completely free of any hesitation to say what is really going on in the Western world today. Virginie Despentes blew me away with her fresh and honest analysis of what women (and men) struggle within their half-baked, destructive gender roles.

Miss Don't Touch Me

Miss Don't Touch Me is the story of a girl, Blanche, who works with her sister, Agatha, as a live-in maid in Paris at the turn of the twentieth century. When Blanche witnesses her sister’s murder, her world is destroyed. People think Agatha committed suicide, and nobody will believe Blanche.

Back to the Roots

When I saw the cover art of Zera Vaughan’s Back to the Roots, I was struck by the image of a dramatic-looking female ice dancer. Her body was painted shades of brown with ridges and lines of what looked like tree bark. I knew I was in for something expressive and heavy. The first track, “Almaz,” is rich and bewitching. It leads off with a lovely moan. Vaughan’s voice is haunting and reminiscent of early Sarah McLachlan.