Two winners at the Avon

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Movie lovers will find two excellent French films at the Avon this week. For those who are hard of hearing, which includes Don, you'll have no trouble with either, as the first has no dialogue and the second has English subtitles.

THE RED TURTLE

* * * *

(Magical, metaphorical animated film)

This magical, metaphorical animated film is filled with beautiful images and a simple story of the circle of life and the beauty and power of nature, will hold you spellbound for its short hour and 20 minutes. It moves slowly, but that's OK, as you feel its power and enjoy its allegorical messages.

A man washes up in a storm on an uninhabited island after being tossed about by the stormy sea. He discovers both the beauty and the dangers of the island, with its rocky crags, bamboo forest, birds, sea creatures and a wonderful group of sand crabs. He constructs a raft to help him escape his loneliness, only to be turned back time and again.

Note that the title of the film is "The Red Turtle,” a creature that weighs heavily in the man's fate. We hesitate to tell you more and spoil the many little surprises that follow. We will tell you that they involve the turtle, dreams and what may or may not be miraculous events.

As in the Garden of Eden, the story involves creation, birth, death and rebirth. You may view the film on its basic level or read much more into it. All we can say is that it is one of the most beautiful films we have ever seen.

Rated PG, with a couple of scary moments.

FRANTZ

* * * ½

(French/German love story)

Love, loss and forgiveness are the main elements in this passionate, though at times melodramatic tale of a German woman and a French man who must deal with the reality of war and its consequences, and the healing that needs to take place afterwards.

It is 1919. World War I has left a bitter taste in the minds of the residents of a small German village. Anna (Paula Beer) has lost her fiancé in the war and has moved in with his parents as they try to console each other and deal with their loss.

Adrien (Pierre Nineny), a Frenchman, appears in town, claiming to have been Frantz's close friend. In spite of the family's reluctance to befriend the enemy, and the townsfolk’s' outright animosity, Adrien succeeds in winning over the fiancée and parents, telling them stories of Frantz's final days.

A close friendship develops between Anna and Adrien until a surprising twist is introduced to the story. The two almost-lovers part ways, as Adrien returns to France, with Anna eventually tracking him down. What happens is both revealing and poignant, as the story brings out many underlying feelings of guilt, remorse and, most of all, forgiveness.

At times melodramatic, "Frantz" always keeps you looking for the next shoe to drop. And drop it does, with a most interesting ending.

Rated PG-13, with some violence and profanity.

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