It’s getting to the time of year when early drafts of year-end Top 10 lists start forming in our heads — and bar a sudden windfall of previously unseen masterpieces between now and December, one film I’m reasonably confident will be on mine is James Gray’s extraordinary romantic melodrama “The Immigrant,” in which Marion Cotillard plays a wide-eyed Polish ingenue tussled over by showman brothers Joaquin Phoenix and Jeremy Renner.
I already waxed lyrical about the film at Cannes, where it found passionate devotees and yawning skeptics in equal measure — for me, it was all about the rapturous execution of its classical plot, with nods to the greats of silent cinema both in performance (this, I maintain, is easily Cotillard’s best work since her Oscar-winning turn in “La Vie en Rose”) and the exquisite, Oscar-worthy cinematography of Darius Khondji.
Now, a divided critical reception isn’t the only way in which this delicate film has had rather a rough go of it: previously known as “Nightingale” and “Lowlife,” the film had been finished for quite some time before its Cannes premiere, while The Weinstein Company still seems in no hurry to release it. (Rumor has it Harvey himself isn’t much of a fan.) Moved to the company’s more specialized Radius-TWC label, it has also been moved out of this year’s awards frame to an unconfirmed spring date next year — with a strong likelihood of a multi-platform release.
Whenever, whatever, wherever — just as long as it gets seen eventually. It is, however, out in France next month; hence this French-subtitled trailer which, while not exactly artful, gives a good, substantial impression of the film’s richly old-school virtues. Check it out below and tell us what you think — here’s hoping we won’t have to wait forever for some US marketing materials to appear for this gem.