Sunday, November 12, 2006


Foley art (?) -– I believe that's the term for the creation of sound effects, is crazy in French Cinema.
Every little sound seems to be amplified as if the characters now have special werewolf hearing. Whilst the rustle of clothing or pad of bare feet bring important detail to a scene, in French films the mix seems to be ratcheted pretty high in favour of the effects.

Also -– French cinema seems more fixated on class than British. Everyone is either an underclass, hand-to-mouth type as in La Haine or Read My Lips, or they are so upper middle class that the day-to-day details of food and shelter are neither here nor there, leaving ample opportunity to analyse tortured souls and hearts.

But my, French cinema can be deliciously good.
The Page Turner is a good example. Ostensibly a film about pitiful middle class anxiety, it is full of strong, subtle performances and biting moments not without a little ambiguity.
A revenge film at heart, it works well at not succumbing to the cliches and has a pleasingly definite end point where many other directors would be tempted to meander on for another fruitless half hour or so.

If you can get past the initially stifling middle class milieu of featureless clothes and the ubiquitous country house then you'’ll find a true gem.

Lovely jubbly, as they say in Paris.


Death Note started life in a Japanese manga strip, became very popular and spawned two live action movies and a currently running anime series. Judging by the fuss surrounding it, it may well become the next crossover hit to come to the West, following in the footsteps of Naruto and Bleach.

In some other dimension, the Death Gods live. One of them is tired of their bored existence, and drops a Death Note to earth.
The Death Note allows the owner to kill anyone they like, provided they know thier face and name, and that they write their name in the book. After writing the name in the book, they have 40 seconds to write a cause of death, otherwise the victim will perish from a heart attack. Should they write a cause of death, they then have 6 minutes and 40 seconds to embellish the details of this demise.
These conditions are from memory, but in effect it results in an interesting little morality play.
The person to find the death note is a boy in high school, top of his class, who on finding that the book is genuine sets about a carefully planned campaign of killing of criminals.
In time, the police notice the connections of dozens of convicts and suspects keeling over and begin a manhunt for the one dubbed 'Kira' by the media. The advantages of the Death Note mean it's nigh on impossible for the police to even know where to start, and that's where a mysterious figure known only as 'L' steps in, a world reknowned master detective who works via a similarly anonymous middle man.
It's at this point that the series becomes a game of cat and mouse, as Kira and L both try and use their considerable cunning to reveal the other's identity.

Death Note is a decent show based on an interesting premise, so I hope the plotting stays tight rather than degenerating into the vagueness of 100+ shows like Bleach and Naruto.
Thankfully as it is based on thought more than action this is unlikely to happen.

Just remember that you heard it here first. Probably.


  1. There was a great documentary about foley artists on Radio 4 a few months ago. I'm sure some geek will have stuck it on BitTorrent if you have a look.

  2. But they weren't French, were they?

    Thanks for the tip, I shall sift through the internets post haste.

  3. I've found one from 2004 you can listen to with Realplayer -

    In the search I've found that there's a foley artist extra on the Jurassic Park DVD, so I'll have to go dig that out...