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Category:    Home > Reviews > Comedy > French > Filmmaking > The Grand Role

The Grand Role


Picture: C+     Sound: C+     Extras: C     Film: C



In the later 1960s, French and Italian cinemas began to deconstruct the idea of producing films, especially when Americans or their money (read Hollywood) were involved.  Every possible kind of film that could have been done about this pretty much has, but that did not stop director Steve Suissa from making The Grand Role (2004) featuring the main conflict of an American actor (Peter Coyote) getting a role intended for Maurice (Stéphane Freiss), a French actor excited about winning the role until he realizes he did not.


The film could have been funny; especially by losing the Hollywood bashing that seems sometimes hypocritical.  Instead, we get a 90 minutes long piece that seems longer and is certainly too drawn out for its own good.  The jokes are never funny, the situations never fresh, the actors no given enough to do, the situation overall not that realistic and after all this, maybe Maurice should have found a student filmmaker and tried to make a more important film within the film.  At least the acting was not outright idiotic, something people criticize in American films, but excuse in their French equivalent as somehow sophisticated and clever.  But then, some people are in deep denial.


The anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image is a PAL source to NTSC transfer than has ghosting, color issues and detail troubles that foil and otherwise fine print source.  The Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo has surprisingly no surrounds to speak of, despite being a recent production and the music is often obnoxious to boot.  Extras include an introduction by the director, stills and four trailers for other First Run DVDs.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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