Catherine Deneuve plays Béatrice in Martin Provost’s forgettable picture.
The Midwife (Sage Femme) was shown at the 2017 Berlinale out of competition. The film provokes many questions and the most important one is why this trashy opus of Martin Provost was selected for the program of the festival. Perhaps the answer is the participation of the great French cinema legend Catherine Deneuve. The great French actress personally came to the festival and was present at the press conference where her expressive eyes full of sadness were in stark contrast with the self satisfied smile on Catherine Frot’s plastic surgery ridden face.
Catherine Frot plays the main part in the film, the boring midwife Claire Breton, Deneuve plays her friend Béatrice Sobolevski. We can only feel sorry for Deneuve who agreed for a role in such a forgettable picture which has mediocre camerawork, terrible lighting, uninteresting dialogue and a complete lack of an artistic vision. What is even sadder is that many critics are calling this her best role in years! The film is itself a symbol of banality which dominates cinematography today.
Although the picture pretends to be a dramatic-comedy, the audience at the press screening never laughed. The jokes were not funny, the characters paper thin. Provost has a reputation of being a director who is an expert on women’s psychology but this film proves that his esteem is hugely overrated. The film which is about a midwife features multiple childbirth scenes filmed in a real hospital however these scenes only show the superficial side of the process and leave a disgusting aftertaste.
France has a rich history of filmmaking and the French government supports cinematography through various platforms therefore it is even more suprising that such a worthless film director receives funding and is acclaimed in France while he does not understand the main principles of cinematography; composition of the frame, originality of the camerawork, importance of interesting ideas, compelling dialogue, professional editing, comprehension of the basics of aesthetics, innovations, color harmony among other things.