Saturday, November 11, 2006


ANGEL-A (France 2005. Director: Luc Besson)
Pacific Cinematheque
Sat Dec 2, 7:30pm

Eye candy that might also feed the soul?
Cinematheque: "A visually ravishing black-and-white valentine to Paris, shot mostly in shimmering, crack-of-dawn light, Angel-A marks the much-anticipated return to the director’s chair of French high-concept stylist Luc Besson, luminary of le cinema du look. (Besson, director of La Femme Nikita and The Fifth Element, has been startlingly prolific of late as a producer and a screenwriter, but hadn’t helmed a movie himself since 1999’s The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc).

Playing like a chic hybrid of It’s a Wonderful Life and Wings of Desire, Angel-A pairs up AndrĂ© (Jamel Debbouze), a little guy in debt up to his eyeballs, and Angela (Danish model Rie Rasmussen), a long, leggy blonde in the skimpiest of black dresses. These mismatched lovers meet when their respective suicide attempts bring them to the same picturesque Paris bridge on the same night. After AndrĂ© pulls Angela from the Seine, she resolves to be the guardian angel who will deliver him from his myriad difficulties. Besson’s film, true to form, is drowning in style; the exquisite images are by cinematographer Thierry Arbogast, a Besson regular since Nikita. (Arbogast also shot Brian De Palma’s Femme Fatale, Ms. Rasmussen’s film debut). B&W, 35mm, in French and Spanish with English subtitles. 90 mins.

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