Agnès Varda's giddy, goofy love letter to the cinema resembles countless movie moments that have been shaken, not stirred, and poured out as a rich, heady cocktail. The phantom of a plot finds vivacious but aging film le... more »gend Simon Cinema (Michel Piccoli in a moppy blonde wig) spending his waning days reminiscing over the history of movies with the young Camille (perky, spirited Julie Gayet) and his best friend, an unnamed matinee idol identified in the credits only as "the Italian movie star" and played with great charm by Marcello Mastroianni. Simon "becomes" the film greats under discussion (from Luis Buñuel to Gene Kelly, and in one inspired moment even Michel Piccoli himself) while dozens of real-life cinema legends stop by to pay their respects. The list of cameos is a veritable who's who of American and European cinema: Jean-Paul Belmondo, Alain Delon, Catherine Deneuve, Robert De Niro, Harrison Ford, Gina Lollobrigida, Jeanne Moreau, Hanna Schygulla, and dozens more. As intimate as A Personal Journey with Martin Scorsese Through American Cinema and as idiosyncratic as a Jean-Luc Godard cinema essay, this is film history as coffeehouse banter, adorned with film clips, inspired tributes, jokey references to classic scenes, and a score swimming in memorable musical motifs. If you're not in on the joke, Varda's tribute may seem arcane and obscure, but die-hard film lovers and cinema buffs will appreciate her affectionate whimsy as she ricochets and riffs through the legacy of film. --Sean Axmaker« less
"Once again Fox Lorber has subverted a very good film by notputting it in its proper aspect ratio. . . This is especially ironicsince the film is a wonderfully silly homage to the 100th birthday of cinema. The DVD is proof just how much the businessmen can screw up this art form. But the film has a BIG allstar cast with Michel Piccoli playing Mr. Cinema. Marcello Mastroianni gives a wonderfully silly spoof of himself (topped only by the short scene of Jean-Paul Belmondo working as a quack doctor after giving up acting.) And where else can you see Robert DeNiro woo Catherine Deneuve in a small boat on a very small pond? I watch lots of foreign cinema and even I'm left guessing at many of the film references so good hunting. It helps to have seen more than a few Bunuel films. And Piccolli does an imitation of Orson Wells I haven't stopped laughing about."
If you don't love movies, don't see this one...
R. Epstein | USA | 06/19/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"But if you DO love movies, well, the more you love and appreciate them, the more you will love and appreciate this one! This is an AMAZING homage to movies and to the role they play in our lives. It is boundless in its imagination, wit and charm, and it balances beautifully between the sophisticated and the sentimental. I love the cinema from France and from all other countries, but I watched this with someone who had not seen many films outside the USA and he still managed to adore this, even though he was unfamiliar with many of the films and stars that are referred to in this film. The more familiar one is with French cinema, the more one will appreciate this film, but there are plenty of Hollywood films and stars that are referred to as well (including a scene with a Liz Taylor clone that is hilarious!). This film's quintessential charm will hold anyone in a spell who knows intrinsically that cinema equals MAGIC! Varda understands that perfectly (as did her late husband, the great director Jacques Demy, who she also refers to in this film). She creates a loving tribute to the past century of films just in time to celebrate its centennial (fans of the Lumiere Brothers and Georges Melies will identify some great gags associated with their films!). If you aren't already obsessive about movies, you will be after seeing this one!
This one definitely deserves a hundred and one stars!!"
S. Rogers | Worldwide | 03/09/2007
(1 out of 5 stars)
"The DVD has no English subtitles so don't buy this unless you can understand French."
Must learn FRENCH first!
Dr. Edilberto Gozo Jr. | CEBU CITY Philippines | 04/07/2007
(2 out of 5 stars)
"THE DVD WAS SUPPOSED TO BE SUBTITLED IN ENGLISH! WHOEVER WROTE THE AD WAS HONEST BUT WHAT HE/SHE DID NOT SAY WAS IT ONLY WORKS DURING THE TRAILER! THE ENTIRE MOVIE HAD NO SUBTITLE!"
Subtitles do not work on this release.
Scullibundo | 02/26/2009
(2 out of 5 stars)
"I own 5 different players capable playing of dvds and none of them are able to access the english subtitles on this disc, which is a great shame because I now own a film which I loved the first time around but can never watch (and understand) again."