Review: ‘Claude M Loves the Cinema’

The late French helmer Claude Miller, whose swan song, "Therese Desqueyroux," closed the recent Cannes fest, reminisces about his career, in TV-style (and length) docu "Claude M Loves the Cinema."

The late French helmer Claude Miller, whose swan song, “Therese Desqueyroux,” closed the recent Cannes fest, reminisces about his career, in TV-style (and TV-length) docu “Claude M Loves the Cinema.” Writer-director Emmanuel Barnault lets a handful of collaborators and friends deliver unconnected soundbites about Miller, who worked for Bresson, Godard and Truffaut before moving to directing. But the freewheeling recollections of the maestro himself, in one of his last extensive interviews, are the pic’s strongest suit. Film channels and DVD distribs looking for bonus-disc materials should like — though not quite love — this homage.

“Very French, obviously,” says fellow helmer Bertrand Blier of Miller’s cinema, a true but not very insightful remark that’s unfortunately emblematic of most of the contributions here, with actress Charlotte Gainsbourg, who had her first meaty role in Miller’s “L’effrontee,” especially wasted. In a typically casual and offhand manner, the visibly ailing Miller delivers some of the most perceptive statements. Behind-the-scenes footage and clips don’t always directly illustrate what’s being discussed, while elsewhere Barnault attempts to alternate the talking heads with the relevant French poster art, a more static but at least more coherent juxtaposition.

Claude M Loves the Cinema

France

Production

A Movie Da production, in association with Cine Plus. (International sales: C & Co., Paris.) Produced by Jean-Fabrice Barnault. Directed, written by Emmanuel Barnault.

Crew

Camera (color, HD), David Pujol; editor, Pujol. Reviewed at Cannes Film Festival (Cannes Classics), May 26, 2012. Running time: 52 MIN.

With

Claude Miller, Annie Miller, Bertrand Blier, Jean-Louis Livi, Charlotte Gainsbourg.

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