All around Australia Francophiles are rejoicing.
With a film festival on our southern shores dedicated entirely to showcasing the best of French cinema, along with critically lauded talent like Omar Sy making headlines in films such as Monsieur Chocolat or François Cluzet in The Intouchables, it seems French cinema is sweeping across Australia.
This Bastille Day, World Movies is joining in the celebrations with five nights of unforgettable French cinema, including Eternity with the irresistible Audrey Tautou.
Eternity sweeps slowly across three generations accompanied by a score including Bach, Beethoven and Debussy. Through this collaboration with his wife – the actress Tran Nu Yen Khe, who is the omnipresent narrator of the film – director Tran Anh Hung has established a beautiful ode to women and family life.
Tautou plays Valentine who is twenty years old when, towards the end of the 19th century, she marries her beloved Jules. Ecstatic to be united, the two are further delighted to bear many children. However, bliss is not lasting, and tragedy befalls the couple, leaving the family scarred by the fragility of existence. In the years that follow, joy is reinstated with new romances, marriages and births. With the introduction of each new generation, one thing remains consistent: the unavoidable cycle of passion, love, turbulence and sorrow.
Impressively shot by Lee Ping Bing, it is a feast for the eyes and ears – a meditative, powerfully stylised film imbued with a gentle sensitivity which captivates in every scene.
Tautou isn’t just brilliant in Eternity, she’s also gone on to showcase her versatility in a number of other roles, from a calculative and determined Turkish Muslim immigrant in Dirty Pretty Things, to a young and relentless lover in A Very Long Engagement. She’s even tackled and succeeded in taking on the role of fashion giant Gabrielle ‘Coco’ Chanel in Coco Before Chanel.
Off screen, Tautou is a well spoken, confident and intelligent woman. Did you know she’s admitted to wanting to be a primatologist had she not pursued acting? In interviews, Audrey Tautou is as French as can be. She shrugs, pouts, rolls her eyes, utters “ooh la la” in her thickest, sultriest French-accented English. She’s expressive and frequently blunt.
Outside of press tours and interviews however, you won’t find Tautou gracing tabloids as she works hard to lead a life that’s as private as it get’s. She’s admitted to going on a vacation with her sister to Thailand simply because no one recognised her (and they didn’t).
Don’t miss Eternity with Audrey Tautou on Wednesday 12 July 8.30pm.