THE FRENCH THEY ARE A FUNNY RACE 2015-PART UNE: reviews of movies at COL-COA, The Last Hammer Blow, Atlit, My Friend Victoria

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Over the last week, I’ve been attending the COL-COA, or French film festival, here in Los Angeles. For those who are Francophiles or into foreign films (and even for those who aren’t), here are my takes on the movies I’ve seen so far.


last hammerThe title of the new coming of age film, The Last Hammer Blow, is taken from a Mahler symphony and concerns fate or how many times tragic things can happen in life. When Mahler wrote the symphony, it was during a year in which he saw constant death and personal misfortune. He had three “hammer blows” in his composition to imply fate. After his own fateful year, he would never have the orchestra play the last hammer blow in order to defy fate, and now conductors have the option to play the third blow or not.
Victor, the hero of The Last Hammer Blow, is not your usual teenager in films of this genre. He’s not a delinquent or constantly getting into trouble; he’s not into drinking or drugs; he does rather well at school and even helps tutor the little boy of his neighbor—who are Spanish and trying to learn French; and he is very good at soccer and has a chance at a training camp. He also has a thing for the little boy’s older sister.
In other words, he’s not a rebel with or without a cause. Continue reading