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Michelle Pfeiffer 'Cheri' in Berlin + French Film Critics Pick Year's Best Movies

Michelle Pfeiffer in Cheri

Kathy Bates in CheriDerek Elley reviews Stephen Frears' Chéri in Variety:

“Like a passable bottle of champagne, Cheri fizzes and slides down quite easily but lacks real body and doesn't really hit the spot. Driven along by Alexandre Desplat's busy score, scrumptious duds by Consolata Boyle, pastel-tinged widescreen lensing by Darius Khondji and, most of all, by Kathy Bates' [right] scene-stealing turn, this Stephen Frears-Christopher Hampton adaptation of Colette's famous Belle Epoque tale of romance between an experienced older courtesan and a spoiled youth [Rupert Friend, as the “Cheri” of the title] is, like Michelle Pfeiffer's lead perf, short on real passion and emotion.”

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Here's a rather different take on Chéri by The [London] Times' Stephen Dalton:

“Frears handles this slow shift from romantic frolic [between the middle-aged courtesan and the 19-year-old youth] to mournful elegy with a pleasingly light touch. Hampton's crisp screenplay keeps it lively with a steady flow of dry quips and acerbic one-liners. Pfeiffer's performance is magnetic and subtle, her worldly nonchalance a mask for vulnerability and heartache.

“Unfortunately, the character of Chéri feels bland and colourless. A willowy, floppy-fringed Orlando Bloom-a-like, Friend is no match for Pfeiffer and unconvincing as an object of romantic, lustful obsession. A seasoned femme fatale such as Léa would eat him for petit déjeuner and be bored to tears by cocktail time.”

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Michelle Pfeiffer, Rupert Friend in Cheri

At the Berlinale press conference: Michelle Pfeiffer on turning 50 last April (via Reuters):

“If you think hitting 40 is liberating, wait until you hit 50. I was surprised how liberating it was. The anticipation is always much worse than reality. There is the anticipating of turning over that big number, then you turn 50 and go 'okay'. If anything, it makes you more grateful for what you've got.”

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Also at the conference: Michelle Pfeiffer on older women – such as herself in Chéri and Kate Winslet in The Reader – being sexually and/or romantically involved on-screen with much younger men (via The Local):

“I think it's a positive step in the right direction.”

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A blog post by Spiegel Online's Wolfgang Höbel has created a Berlinale press-office furor (via Scott Roxborough in The Hollywood Reporter):

“'The hardest, meanest, most unhelpful press department in the world … with maximum unfriendliness and Prussian administrative crabbiness,' Höbel wrote before comparing employees at the press office with the single mother Katie, played by Alexandra Lamy in François Ozon's Ricky.

"'(Katie) is as bitchy, frustrated and overwhelmed as the ladies in the Berlinale press office but at least she appears to enjoy sex,' he wrote.”

[One press office employee responded: “I think Mr. Höbel's issue are with his parents, not with us.”]

Étoiles d'Or winners

In Laurent Cantet's Palme d'Or winner The Class, teacher-author François Bégaudeau (who also wrote the book on which the film is based) stars as a teacher coping with students in a tough Parisian suburb mostly inhabited by African and Arab immigrants. Chosen as the best French film of the year by the French film criticsThe Class has also won a Spirit Award for best foreign-language film and is up for an Academy Award in that same category.

2009 French Film Critics' Étoiles d'Or winners: Feb. 9 '09.

Best Film / Etoile d'Or du Film français 2008
* Entre les murs / The Class by Laurent Cantet
Le premier jour du reste de ta vie by Remi Bezançon
A Christmas Tale by Arnaud Desplechin

Best Director / Etoile d'Or du Réalisateur français 
Jean-François Richet for Mesrine
* Arnaud Desplechin for A Christmas Tale
Laurent Cantet for The Class

Best First Film / Etoile d'Or du Premier Film français (tie)
* Versailles by Pierre Schoeller 
Il y a longtemps que je t'aime / I've Loved You So Long by Philippe Claudel
* L'apprenti by Samuel Collardey

Best Documentary / Etoile d'Or du Documentaire français 
* Les plages d'Agnès by Agnès Varda
La vie moderne by Raymond Depardon
Elle s'appelle sabine by Sandrine Bonnaire

Best Actress / Etoile d'Or du Premier Rôle Féminin
français 

Kristin Scott Thomas for I've Loved You So Long by Philippe Claudel
Felicité Wouassi for Aide-toi le ciel t'aidera by François Dupeyron
* Yolande Moreau for Séraphine by Martin Provost

Best Actor / Etoile d'Or du Premier Rôle Masculin français 
* Vincent Cassel for Mesrine by Jean François Richet
Guillaume Depardieu for Versailles by Pierre Schoeller
Mathieu Amalric for A Christmas Tale by Arnaud Desplechin

Best Female Newcomer / Etoile d'Or de la Révélation Féminine française 
Louise Bourgoin for La fille de Monaco by Anne Fontaine
* Nora Arnezeder for Faubourg 36 by Christophe Barratier
Léa Seydoux for La Belle Personne by Christophe Honoré

Best Male Newcomer / Etoile d'Or de la Révélation Masculine française 
* Tomer Sisley for Largo Winch by Jérome Salle 
Nicolas Giraud for Comme une étoile dans la nuit by René Féret
Pio Marmaï for Le premier jour du reste de ta vie by Remi Bezançon

Best Screenplay / Etoile d'Or du Scénario français 
* Le premier jour du reste de ta vie by Remi Bezançon
The Class by Laurent Cantet
A Christmas Tale by Arnaud Desplechin

Best Original Score / Etoile d'Or du Compositeur de Musique Originale de film français 
Sinclair for Le premier jour du reste de ta vie by Remi Bezançon
Alex Beaupain for La Belle Personne by Christophe Honoré
* Reinhardt Wagner for Faubourg 36 by Christophe Barratier

Best Producer / Etoile d'Or du Producteur de films français 
Thomas Langmann for la société La petite reine
* Carole Scotta and Caroline Benjo for la société Haut et court
Mathieu Kassovitz for MNP entreprises

Best Distributor / Etoile d'Or du Distributeur de films français 
Carole Scotta and Caroline Benjo for Haut et court
Michel Saint-Jean for Diaphana 
* François Ivernel for Pathé Distribution

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5 Comments to Michelle Pfeiffer 'Cheri' in Berlin + French Film Critics Pick Year's Best Movies

  1. Carsten R. Hansson

    First Hairspray 2007, then Stardust 2007 and finally Cheri 2009. I am sure, that beauty Michelle Pfeiffer will take the Oscar (best leading Oscar/Actress next year in marts 2010 in LA Hollywood(Kodak Theatre). She is always in a good winner spot for an Oscar before french Mylady Marion Cotillard (Public Enemies, 2009)…Cheri is much better than Dangerous Liaisons, 1988, Stephen Frears/Christopher Hampton!

  2. I would have to agree, I think this looks like it could put Michelle Pfeifer in a good spot for an oscar

  3. Omaar

    I would gladly make love to Michelle…

    She's Timeless and her Beauty has Great Longevity …

    Not many age as gracefully as Michelle.

    This Lady is Incredible !!

    The Sex must be Great !!

  4. Peter

    Michelle Pfeiffer and Kathy Bates for Oscar 2010?

  5. Philippe

    Michelle Pfeiffer is as beautiful as always. She will never grow old. And she can seduce as many young men as she wants. She could seduce me if she wanted. I would be so lucky.