Tag Archives: Fanny Ardant

MARIA BY CALLAS : DESTINED TO BE A DIVA

Was Maria Callas, one of the most famous dramatic coloratura sopranos of all time, a diva both on and off stage? Was she more famous for her voice or for her affair with the mega-rich Aristotle Onassis? Who is better to answer these and related questions than Maria Callas herself.

MARIA B Y CALLAS  is an intimate look at the life of the legendary Greek-American opera singer completely in her own words.

Whilst she died in 1977 aged 53, this documentary film reminds us that her voice was truly remarkable and that the media hounding ensured that the public thought of her as a diva. The documentary is a chronological collection of interviews, performances, home movies, photographs, letters and unpublished memoirs from Callas.

The movie reveals the tussle between Maria, the ‘normal’ female desiring a ‘normal’ family life with children, and ‘Callas’ the international opera star who must please and appease audiences and the press. She collected recipes but never got round to making the dishes. Whilst having been married once and having a long public affair with Aristotle Onassis, she admits that destiny called her to be a diva and therefore motherhood was denied. Continue reading MARIA BY CALLAS : DESTINED TO BE A DIVA

BRIGHT DAYS AHEAD

If there is one singular reason to attend the Alliance Francais Film Festival it’s Fanny Ardant. Those who are not already ardent fans of Fanny Ardant should be after seeing BRIGHT DAYS AHEAD, with Fanny at her funniest as a recently retired dentist having a clandestine affair with a man twenty years her junior.

Reeling from a forced retirement and the loss of a close friend, Ardant’s character Caroline, is gifted a trial membership at an activities club for senior citizens called Bright Days Ahead.

Bored by most of the activities, she enrols in the centre’s computer class run by louche Lothario, Julien.  His holey molar is the beginning of a fling that becomes a flaming infatuation, fanning a passion and desire that has laid dormant after decades of domesticity.

BRIGHT DAYS AHEAD has its roots in bedroom farce and there are laughs aplenty, but there is also a lovely pathos at work here, thanks to a nifty script by director Marion Vernoux, Fanny Chesnel and Marc Syrigas from the novel by Fanny Chesnel.

Mortality and redundancy can make impulsive fools of us all but it’s forgiveness that puts the adult into adultery and Caroline’s husband, Philippe, played by Patrick Chesnais, though hurt by the infidelity is the epitome of underlying and undying love.

A supporting cast of veteran French thesps including Fanny Cottencon and Marceline Loridan Ivens enliven proceedings.

With the greying of the population, welcome to the changing face of the rom com – the joys of the toy boys.

The 25th Alliance Francaise French Film Festival commences on Tuesday March 4 at Chauvel Cinema, Palace Norton Street, Palace Verona and Hayden Orpheum Picture Palace.