Today: May 28, 2024
·

Extraordinary Adventures of Adele Sec Cinema, The

French cinema is a bit of an anomaly. It has a reputation for being progressive and daring, a hangover from the days of nouvelle vague. It also has a reputation of making incomprehensible films that contain sex, or dour movies filled with misery.

French cinema is a bit of an anomaly. It has a reputation for being progressive and daring, a hangover from the days of nouvelle vague. It also has a reputation of making incomprehensible films that contain sex, or dour movies filled with misery. However, like most countries, it is only the best of their content that makes it beyond the domestic market, which is probably a good thing because, as multi-hyphenate filmmaker Julie Delpy said, “95 percent of French cinema is shit”. Luckily we mostly get to see the other five percent.

While the more familiar French cinema is made up of harsh realities, they also do a great line in magical reality. Jean-Pierre Jeunet (Amelie) in particular, along with his old filmmaking partner Marc Caro, immediately spring to mind, as does the prolific and internationally renowned director/writer/producer Luc Besson, whose latest film sees him again mixing fantasy and action.

Based on a comic, it is the story of a popular novelist who finds herself involved in extraordinary adventures in order to save her sister, who had an unusual accident during a tennis match. Set it the early 1900s, it starts with quirky voiceover and the sweeping shots we are familiar with in Jeunet’s films. The opening of this film involves ancient magic, ladies of the night, love-struck suitors, hatching pterodactyl eggs, and the occasional red herring. This unlikely combination does actually make sense as the film unfolds into a cracking comedy adventure. While some people have called it a female Indiana Jones, it is much closer in tone and content to The Mummy, with Adele being more of an amalgam of Brendan Fraser’s Rick O’Connell and Rachel Weisz’s Evy Carnahan. The parallel is also helped by the fact that the film involves mummies, although not as malicious, and other ancient Egyptian shenanigans, but with more humour. Yes, that’s right, a French film with humour, and one that doesn’t rely on the usual French default toilet humour for its laughs, with a particularly funny prison escape scene. And being a French film it does still manage to slip in a nude scene with our attractive heroine in the bath for some unexplained reason.

Being a subtitled film it feels much closer to its comic book roots because you have to read the dialogue, and this is further enhanced by the third person voiceover, some interesting framing choices and the aforementioned magical reality. While everyone is waiting for the big Marvel comic movies, this French offering is equally entertaining, but with certain amount of art house cred and plenty of special effects and action to please the fan boys and girls, as well as a heroine who is very easy on the eye.

Alex Moss Editor

Alex Moss’ obsession with film began the moment he witnessed the Alien burst forth from John Hurt’s stomach. It was perhaps ill-advised to witness this aged 6 but much like the beast within Hurt, he became infected by a parasite called ‘Movies’. Rarely away from his computer or a big screen, as he muses on Cinematic Deities, Alex is “more machine now than man. His mind is twisted and evil”. Email: alex.moss@filmjuice.com

Previous Story

Fast Five

Next Story

Hunter, The Cinema Review

Latest from Blog

Memory

Memory (2023)

Memory is an exquisite American drama in the tender embrace of Michel Franco’s cinematic prowess.

Abashiri Prison I-III

Constructed in the late nineteenth century to house political prisoners, Japan’s infamous Abashiri Prison served as the inspiration for a popular and prolific run of yakuza movies released between 1965 and 1972. In Abashiri Prison,

The Beach Boys

2024 sees the 50th anniversary of The Beach Boys’ chart-topping compilation album Endless Summer that threw the fading band back into the limelight. Whilst this double LP release was a big financial

The Valiant Ones

The Valiant Ones was King Hu’s last, great masterpiece. Indeed it’s arguably his last true wuxia film — but what a magnificent beast it is. Directed by the celebrated master of the

Enter the Clones of Bruce Unboxing

There have been so many books, documentaries, and even biopics of the immeasurably pioneering martial arts icon Bruce Lee. His life and work have been studied intensely, and his influence remains felt

BackBeat Unboxing

This month saw underrated Beatle-biopic BackBeat make its Blu-ray debut from Fabulous Films, surely delighting the band’s collectors and completists. Telling the story of the Beatles’ first bassist – the so-called ‘lost
Go toTop