Utpal Borpujari

June 1, 2009

DVD Reviews: Honeydripper; Jean De Florette

By Utpal Borpujari

Honeydripper (USA, 2007); English; NDTV Lumiere-Excel Home Videos; Rs 499

“Honeydripper”, the 16th film by John Sayles, the uncompromising American director who has refused to bow to the studio system of Hollywood, is a quaint little film full of old-worldly charm meant for those who love their stories to be told at leisure.

Set in Harmony, a one-street town of mostly Black people in the 1950s Alabama, the film’s protagonist is Tyrone Purvis (Danny Glover), the owner of a lounge bar called the Honeydripper.

Of late Honeydripper has gone to the dumps, and Purvis, denied credit by suppliers and his landlord angry for not getting the rent, devises a plan to get Honeydripper back into shape – he invites Guitar Sam, a legendary guitarist. Do things turn out to be good, or does it bring back old demons?

An independent film in every sense despite the presence of a big Hollywood star like Glover, Honeydripper is an interesting peek into the lives of the Black community in the 1950s, made more interesting by the present times when the White House has acquired its first Black resident.

Jean de Florette (France, 1986); French with English & Hindi subtitles; Shemaroo World Cinema ; Rs 349

When Claude Berri passed away in January this year, the venerable Cannes Film Festival president Gilles Jacob rightly said that ‘French cinema is now an orphan’. Director-actor-producer-writer Berri hit international success with “Jean de Florette”, a sweeping tragedy and its sequel “Manon des Sources” establishing Gérard Depardieu, Daniel Auteuil and Emmanuelle Béart as international stars.

Winner of a number of international awards and based on a Marcel Pagnol story, this is the tale of greed, failed dreams and relationships set in southeast France in the mid 1920s.

With a stunning performance by Depardieu, this film could be the story of any farmer anywhere in the world whose attachment to his native soil is a virtually unbreakable. An epical film that will be cherished by all lovers of powerful cinema at its best.

A bonus feature is “Tuesday”, a short film by Vishal Gandhi, a student of Whistling Woods International film school of Subhash Ghai.

(Published in Deccan Herald, www.deccanherald.com, www.deccanheraldepaper.com, 31-05-2009)



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