Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Actors: Dora van der Groen, Ann Petersen, Rosemarie Bergmans, Julienne De Bruyn, Idwig Stephane
Director: Lieven Debrauwer
Genres: Indie & Art House, Comedy, Drama
As a rule Flemish-language films rarely make much of an international impact, but Pauline & Paulette is a refreshing exception. Director Lieven Debrauwer's debut is an affectionate coming-together of two sisters: the menta... more »
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Christine A. (WriteReviseEdit) from ROCHESTER, NY
Reviewed on 5/23/2013...
One part bittersweet, one part heart-warming and entirely entertaining, "Pauline & Paulette" is among my favorite, go-to foreign films of all time. Admittedly, if subtitles make you squeamish, it's not for you. The only negative I can think of is that it's not as timeless as some films can be.
But, the dress/clothing and '80s/'90s style sets actually remind me of how it feels to watch cheeky BBC sketch comedies. And I love those, so I have no problem overlooking those kinds of details. Anyone with a family member who's a little kooky, limited developmentally or just plain endearing will probably take a true liking to this film.
There are not much in the way of DVD extras here, but the film itself is the real attraction: Evoking feelings of empathy, disbelief and delight.
1 of 1 member(s) found this review helpful.
Two Sisters Living Together: Belgian Bitter-Sweet Tale
Tsuyoshi | Kyoto, Japan | 05/30/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Very short Belgian film, by first-time director Lieven Debrauwer, 'Pauline & Paulette' may not be seen at your multiplex, but will appeal to the movie fans who prefer the 'bitter-sweet' tale. Thanks to the exceptional acting from the leading ladies, the film is lifted one notch higher than usual European dramas.
The plot is simple. You see the four sisters -- Martha, Paulette, Cecile, and Pauline. Pauline, who loves collecting beautiful paper and watering flowers, is mentally-handicapped, and is now living with Martha, who suddenly dies, leaving the instructions to the remaining sisters, Cecile and Paulette. That is, if they both refuse to take care of Pauline, all of her money goes to Pauline.
As a consequence, Paulette takes Pauline back to her house, where she also runs a small business. And so far, you know, the story development is not surprising. It seems at first going on the familiar road, to the tidy 'feel-good' conclusion, but in the second half, you see, it is not. The subdued ending at the cold seaside town is very memorable, one of the best part of the film.
The film's tone is always quiet, even low-keyed, and there's nothing you cannot predict in the film's story except the final reel which is very insightful. But what I liked about the film best is that it does not deny the possibility that Pauline's life could be fine if someone else, someone outside her family, takes care of her. Some films tend to treat the life in hospital in the negative light. In 'Pauline & Paulette' it is just another alternative way of life.
Beligian veteran actress (75-year-old) Dora Van Der Groen gives impressive acting as Pauline, who could be both very charming and irritating, and equally good is Ann Petersen as Paulette, who suddenly discovers her utter loneliness in an unexpected place. The film starts like a Hallmark entertainment (which I like very much, don't be mistaken), but ends with a slightly bitter taste, which reminds us that 'Pauline & Paulette' is an European film, after all."
Dora van der Groen - She's a handful, and she shines!
Danny M. Hobbs | Tigard, OR United States | 12/07/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The centerpiece of this fine little film is Dora van der Groen's portrayal of Pauline, a retarded woman who is helpless and stubbornly willful, oblivious and conveniently aware, guileless and mischievously wily - in short, a handful to her sisters. van der Groen creates such an authentic character it's not only hard to believe, it's hard to **accept** that we're watching an actress and not the genuine article. Add to that the family dynamics that slowly, quietly unwind from frustration to grudging acceptance and then to real warmth, and you've got 78 minutes of the small compromises, small reconciliations, and small steps forward that left me thinking, "Yes, that's the way it should be.""
Pauline & Paulette, a beautifully realized film
C. Burton | Mesa, AZ United States | 08/19/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I discovered this film about a month ago, and, initially, I must admit, I had reservations as to how good it might be. I haven't seen more than a dozen foreign-produced films, and while some have been quite well done, I came away from the majority disappointed. Everything about this film, though, vastly exceeded my highest expectations-the attention to detail, both in plot and characterization, is exquisite. The beauty of the plot, along with its actual realization in the film, defies any overly simplistic description that I might relate here, so I will limit myself to the basic theme and the manner in which this theme is expressed. I view the major theme of this film to be that of the treasuring, or cherishing, of ALL individuals-especially those who are often viewed by society as being less than human. Less than human, of course, refers to those people with physical/mental disabilities, who are generally brushed aside and devalued. Lieven Debrauwer's film, through careful plot device and quite humorous (yet still subtle & instructive) dialogue, never falters in bringing genuine and clearly heartfelt emotion to the screen. Quite clearly, this director has a great passion for fine filmmaking; never once throughout the film did I feel that any detail was excluded or otherwise overlooked. Unbelievably, all of this is packed into just slightly over 70 joyous minutes. The director's commentary on this DVD is superb; watch the film first, and then view the film again with his thoughts and various comments. You will be delighted by his style, and will acquire a wealth of insightful information about the participants in the production. I cannot close without noting the incredible acting ability of each & every actor in this film; even the taxi driver seems to have been chosen especially for his particularly convincing approach. (If this sounds far-fetched to you, please, please, please---buy the DVD & experience it for yourself!)If only Columbia had released his two short films on this Region 1 release! I eagerly look forward to the future directorial efforts of Mr. Debrauwer."