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France/Canada/UK 2004
produced by
directed by Olivier Assayas
starring Maggie Cheung, Nick Nolte, Béatrice Dalle, Jeanne Balibar, Don McKellar, Martha Henry, Tricky, David Roback
written by Olivier Assayas, music by David Roback, Tricky, Brian Eno

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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When her husband, rocklegend Lee Hauser, dies from a heroin overdose, & she is found with some bags of heroin, Emily (Maggie Cheung) is put into a Canadian prison for 6 months & made responsible for Lee's death by the press. Coming out of prison she tries to stay off the heroin but is soon addicted to all sorts of painblockers. Her father-in-law Albrecht (Nick Nolte), who has taken care of her son with his wife Rosemary (Martha Henry) while she was in priosn, asks Emily to stay clear of Jay, at least for the time being, to not throw the kid off balance - to which she agrees heavy-heartedly, & leaves Canada for France, where she had early success as a music video host, to get her act back together - not at least to get her son back.

However, she doesn't succeed in achieving much as nobody seems to interested in the demos of her late husband, Tricky (playing himself), a friend of her husband refuses outright to help her in getting back her son, Irène (Jeanne Balibar), the erstwhile producer from her tv-days, is by now the typical successful mediaperson who tends to forget old friends when they no longer fit into the prevailing clean-shaven media image, & soon she is even fired from her job as waitress at a Chinese restaurant & - without money for the rent - has to move n with an old friend (Béatrice Dalle).

Then Rosemary, Emily's mother-in-law who holds her responsible for Lee's death, has to go to England for medical treatment, & soon it becomes clear that she might be dieing soon, & Albrecht, who has always been more sympathetic towards Emily, decides to bring Jay over to France so Emily can at least see him ... but at first the meeting seems to be a fiasco, since Jay too believes his mom is responsible for his dad's death - only gradually he starts to bond with his mom & in the end he wants to go to San Francisco with her where she is to start her singing career ... a plan that is vetoed by Albrecht though, but he asks her to after her recording-sessions in San francisco with David Roback (also playing himself) come to join them in London - not the least because Rosemary might not be along soon & Albrecht himself doubts he can be a good parents' substitute for Jay ...


This film does work not so much because of its story - which while not being bad is not that great either but rather tried-&-true drama material - but because of great central performances - first & foremost by Maggie Cheung & Nick Nolte, who would be half the admission price in any film - & a very intimate & unjudgemental direction that stays clear of portraying Emily's efforts as a phoenix-out-of-the-ashes-type story, instead creating a multi-levelled portray.



review © by Mike Haberfelner


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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner


Out now from




On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide


A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD