I now blog over at The Eyre Guide! This blog is an archive of my past posts.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Books to Music: 8 Femmes

Posted by Charlene // Tags: , ,
8 Femmes (or 8 Women) is a French comedy drama mystery musical movie.  Yeah.  It's based on a 1958 play by Robert Thomas, but the film was made in 2002.  I was on a French film kick for a bit, and saw this film listed as one of the best so I of course picked it up and loved it!  It stars some pretty amazing French actresses - Catherine Deneuve, Danielle Darrieux, and Fanny Ardant - but all of the actresses in this film are fantastic really.  It's very stylized - reminiscent of 50s films with a Hitchcock/Agatha Christie type vibe.  Even though I found many things very surprising in this movie (mainly the twists and turns in the plot!) I was entirely unaware it was a musical when I first decided to watch it, and I was very surprised when the first actress broke into song.

There are eight songs in the film - one song for each actress that gives some background into their character. It's funny because with some of the songs, there is a ton of subtext behind the choice that is not entirely clear until the end of the movie.  The songs were not specifically written for the film - they were hand picked from among the French pop oeuvre to advance the story as the film explores the secrets these eight women are hiding as they are trapped in a house with the knowledge that one of them is a murderer.  Some songs stand out more for me than others, but I think that is a personal preference, as each song is beautifully worked into the story and reveal so much about each character.  I loved that aspect of the film so much - for such a beautiful, stylized, emotional film, it makes sense that the characters burst into song when their feelings can be expressed in no other way.  There is a fantasy aspect as well, for when the actresses break into song, the lighting changes, or the other actresses dance as backup. It's such a fun film, but a little dark and disturbing which makes it a very eclectic mix of a movie, and so entertaining!

Song Spotlight: Papa t'es plus dans l'coup
Translates to Dad You're Out of Touch, and is the first song in the film so not too much of a spoiler ...  The link is to a youtube video of the scene from the movie, but unfortunately I couldn't find one with subtitles.  It's a fun song sung by the youngest daughter and again, totally caught me off guard when the movie randomly seemed to take a song and dance break.  Since the songs were not written for the movie, they don't all have the same sound, which makes it easier to make each song distinctive to each character.  And the vibe of this one is so full of fun and youth, it captures Catherine perfectly - at least the way her family likes to view her.  Lots of layers in this film, and I wouldn't want to talk about it too much, because it's so great to have all the drama unfold before you!

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  1. I love this movie! I have loved Catherine D. ever since I saw her in umbrellas/girls of rochefort..I love the kind of play on the classic femme fatale character!

    1. Oh yay! I'm so glad you love this movie! I thought it was pretty cool that Danielle Darrieux plays Catherine's mother in this movie and in "Rochefort"!