It's Easier for a Camel... (2003) Poster

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8/10
Poor little rich girl
anagram1419 April 2004
Yes, this film is a charmer, albeit a very strange one. So strange that even critics don't get it - for example, see Reel Film Reviews under "External Reviews". To begin with the obvious: Federica is rich. Richer than most of us can imagine being. So rich her mother tells her kids: "You have no right to cry, you've got everything." She goes through life with a sense of guilt, asking herself what she's done to deserve such wealth, and how she can justify her existence and avoid becoming a useless parasite.

Our not-quite-heroine chooses to write plays, learn ballet and be nice to everyone. She never outgrows the well-behaved little girl she was long ago, retaining a permanent smile and a squeaky voice. Even her boyfriend is a near-perfect embodiment of her bad conscience: a socialist history teacher who sings the "International" at the wheel of her Jaguar. Naturally, Federica joins right in. Even when they quarrel after he tells her he considers her writing a hobby, not work, she doesn't really defend herself. Instead, she keeps having escapist fantasies of a perfect world where rich and poor live in harmony. The "ridiculous" episode mentioned in the Reel Film review, where her parents have a congenial dinner with her kidnappers, is obviously such a fantasy, and meant to be absurd.

Apparently, the actor-director drew heavily on her own life for this story. Her own wealthy family moved to Paris after the Red Brigades started abducting rich kids. Federica's mother is played by Bruni-Tedeschi's real mother (and God knows how she got her to do it!). I admire the director for the courage it must have taken to make a film so personal, and with so much potential for misunderstanding and ridicule. I also admire the actress for her precarious charm. Do go see this one if you have a Really Rich friend who agonizes over money. Thereafter, please present said friend with a bio of George Soros.
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9/10
delightful
maxgnu6 May 2005
Delightful little debut film from Valeria Bruni Tedeschi. Part family drama, part surreal comedy, and definitely not for all tastes, but if you're in for something unusual, edgy but entertaining, this is the film for you. My personal highlights are the scenes where Federica, the main character (played by Bruni Tedeschi herself) flashbacks to her years as a kid, especially the one where the feared kidnappers (she comes from an extremely rich family, so she could have been a target for kidnappers, as often happened in Italy during the seventies) are invited home for dinner and are joined in a chorus of 'El Pueblo Unido' by the whole bourgeois family.
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9/10
This one WON'T Give You The Hump
writers_reign10 April 2004
It's difficult to believe that no one has seen fit to comment on this charmer - that word does double duty here for it's equally applicable to triple-threat writer-director-star Valeria Bruni Tedeschi in her first time at bat on bullhorn. Tedeschi is a fine actress and has illuminated many films with her quiet, understated beauty that leaves most of the 'glamor' girls dead in the water. She doesn't make it easy on herself opting for an intricate storyline requiring both a large cast and ensemble playing and allegedly basing her screenplay loosely on her own life. If I were producing a screenplay that called for an actress who could convey guilt about being very wealthy convincingly I'd be unable to come up with anyone other that Bruni-Tedeschi. At close to forty she can still do gauche and make it come out charming and more than this she is able to extract equally fine performances from the likes of Yvan Attal, Denis Podalydes, Chiara Mastroianni and not least her own mother playing the mother of the fictional-but-lightly-based-on-Valeria herself Federica. She brings it off superbly and takes her rightful place alongside such other distinguished female directors as Agnes Varda, Diane Kurys, Ann Fontaine, and Agnes Jouai. Roll on her second trip to the plate. 8/10
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6/10
to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter kingdom of heaven
dbdumonteil1 April 2006
That's what is written in the Gospel and it could be a metaphorical illustration for the tail end of the film with a surrealist odor.

By her simple acting, her easily recognizable voice, Valeria Bruni-Tedeschi has become one of the most endearing actresses in the landscape of French cinema. When a viewer watches one of her films, he often keeps her in mind and so far, she followed an honorable and occasionally rough road in cinema. She was superb to François Ozon's in "5x2" (2004) and "Le Temps Qui Reste" (2005) and to the couple Olivier Ducastel-Jacques Martineau, "Crustacés et Coquillages" (2005) but her acting and her game sometimes played tricks on her. Claude Chabrol made a mistake by giving her the role of a woman-cop in his already mediocre "Au Coeur Du Mensonge" (1999). Because of her high-pitched voice, she made her part ludicrous. Another setback was with "Ah! Si j'étais Riche" (2002) because she fell into her own caricature.

Well, if she was rich, she wouldn't be the happiest person in the world. It is well known, money can't buy happiness and, here in the case of Frederica, quite rightly so. She's the daughter of a rich immigrated Italian family who left Italy to settle in Paris and lives with her boyfriend, Pierre (Jean-Hugues Anglade). She writes plays, has dancing lessons and has rather difficult relationships with her family, particularly her sister Bianca (Chiara Mastroianni). What doesn't make things easy is that she constantly has a heavy feeling of guilt due to the wealth of her social background. Moreover, she found back a one-time lover (Denis Podalydès) who has a crush on her again and galvanizes her to live with him again. Soon, she's going to inherit her father's fortune and this makes her only more edgy. Her solution to relieve her strained spirit? To confess to her priest whose trouble go beyond him. Yes, poor little rich girl Frderica struggles to find sense to her life...

For the topic of her first directing, Valéria Bruni-Tedeschi didn't complicate the issue. She took as a source of inspiration her own memories of a childhood spent in a posh, rich world. Some aspects of the persona she developed throughout her film must have been the same she she felt once in her past life. Like a good number of beginners who have a stab at directing for the very first time, the quality of her work is uneven, spotty. It's like a patchwork of a little desultory sequences sometimes badly meshed. She moves on from one scene to another without logical link. A certain scattering brings out of the film which also could have gained by being curtailed of about half an hour and being more tightened and pithy. Some moments also smell improvisation and directing is often flabby but thanks to the degree of contribution of the actress/director in his film, the audience never loses the thread of the steps in Frederica's agitated life. Her quirky scheme evolves on two directions centered on imagination and reality to better render in images Frederica's edgy spirit. So it gives whimsical moments like the last scene with the man in the park who got Frederica pregnant but also oddball animation sequences. The best one being the first one when she tries, in her imagination to make the camel go through the eye of a needle and it's not easy! But her vivid dreamy world is also interspersed with childhood flash-backs. All this to flee from a sultry familial atmosphere and not to think too much of such a big amount of dough...

Valéria Bruni-Tedeschi also grabs the viewer's attention when she evokes the insurmountable frontiers between social classes. Three conspicuous sequences: the first one when she and Pierre are with an estate agent in a flat and they talk about price of the rent. Frederica: "for you, it's too much", "for me, it's not enough...". The second one takes place when they have lunch at Frederica's parents'. Pierre, a socialist history teacher unveils his very tumultuous past before this posh world. The last scene in the queue when Pierre enumerates some "rules" of the aristocratic world which reminded me of Jean Renoir's magnum opus "la Règle Du Jeu" (1939). Still, on the plus side, Frederica's stormy even violent relations with her bilious sister filmed in a hard-hitting way. Did Valéria Bruni-Tedeschi have similar relation in her past life? Possible... But she kept a certain tenderness for her characters and there's a deadpan humor which suffuses in her work.

For her first directing, she gathered a bevy of estimable thespians: Denis Podalydès who curiously is often typecast in the same genre of character as the actress/director: clumsy, bashful but always endearing, it's evident in his brother Bruno's films. Chiara Mastroianni, Lambert Wilson shine and perhaps the best of the batch: Jean-Hugues Anglade. This good cast makes up a bit for the drawbacks previously quoted.

Valéria Bruni-Tedeschi's first film isn't exempted of drawbacks which are pertaining to a good pack of actors who have a stab at directing for the first time but it certainly doesn't deserve such a lowly 5.4 out of 10. It commands sympathy and if she is in your straitjacket of favorite contemporary French actresses, "Il est Plus Facile Pour Un Chameau..." has your name on it and might appeal to you. Her career as a filmmaker rather starts under auspicious skies. She collected the Louis Delluc prize for her work, maybe would it be bad to relinquish this direction...
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7/10
Quirky French film with an Italian director and star
Red-12513 January 2017
The French film "Il est plus facile pour un chameau. . " was shown in the U.S. with the translated title "It's Easier for a Camel... (2003). It was co-written and directed by Valeria Bruni Tedeschi. Tedeschi also stars in the movie.

You have to accept the basic premise that Federica (Tedeschi) is awash in guilt because she's rich. In fact, the title of the film is derived from the Gospels of Matthew, Luke, and John. Jesus told a young, rich man that it's easier for a camel to get through the eye of a needle than it is for a rich man to go to paradise. Federica goes to a priest to confess that she's guilty of being rich, and he quotes this Gospel passage.

Tedeschi--who was, indeed, raised as a rich child--directs herself as a very insecure, timid woman, who lacks confidence in her own abilities. This is in contrast to Chiara Mastroianni, who plays her sister Bianca. Bianca is always on the verge of hysteria, but she has plenty of confidence.

Flawed protagonists can make a plot interesting. Tedeschi almost gets there, but for me Federica is not really someone I could care about. All this money, and no creative way to spend it. In fact, the only person with whom I really identified in the movie was Federica's lawyer, portrayed by Souzan Chirazi. She tells Federica, "If you have too much money, start a hospital in Africa."

However, Federica would never get her act together to do anything that practical. She loves her dance class, she (sort of) loves her partner and also her former lover, she deals with her sick father and the rest of her family, and she continually visits the priest, until he tells her that he's a priest, not a psychologist.

We saw this film on the small screen, where it worked very well. It has a dreadful IMDb rating of 5.6. It's not a great movie, but it's not that bad. I gave it a 7. If you're looking for a unusual film, with an unusual protagonist, you could do worse.
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1/10
It Easier for a camel to pass thru a needle than for a rich woman to make a good film
lvzee10 February 2012
Difficult as it may be for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, it is even more difficult for a rich woman to make a good movie.

If anyone needs proof that money can't buy good taste or competent film making, this movie will surely convince them.

The strange attempt at an autobiography lacks any redeeming social or cinematic value.

One can only assume that Carla Bruni, who is not know for her good sense,still had enough sense not to get involved in this debacle.

It seems virtually impossible that they couldn't have gotten competent writers, directors, etc. and created a film with at least a modicum of taste and/or watch-ability.
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