Sunday, February 21, 2010

Faubuorg 36. 2008

If you are a sucker for French films you will be definitely drawn to this film, however this is not precisely that cool, intellectual film. Paris 36, which the real name is Faubourg 36 in reference to that area of Paris. This movie was directed by Christophe Barratier who directed “Les Choristes”. The movie has the problem of trying to capitalize on the effect and success of of his previous film and got caught in the trap of becoming full of French clichés.

The number in the title refers to 1936, when the left-wing Popular Front government of Léon Blum came to power, initiating a period of intensified class struggle and political antagonism. Lots of critics didn’t care much for this film. I didn’t dislike it as much but I would say you don’t have to try this hard to make a film so cute and warm, something that people all over the world will think is a romanticized version of “French charm”.

But “Paris 36” works so hard to charm you that you may be tempted to end up liking it, let’s face there are much worst American films that we deal with. Its main characters, after all, are such sad, lovable Frenchmen.

Certainly one can’t dislike Pigoil (Gérard Jugnot, also seen in “Les Choristes”), who in the opening scenes loses almost everything: his backstage job at the Chansonia music hall; his wife, who runs off with a fellow performer; and then his beloved son, an accordion prodigy named Jojo (Maxence Perrin), who is taken from Pigoil’s custody by heartless bureaucrats.

The character of Pigoil’s pal Jacky (Kad Merad), who fancies himself “the prince of impressionists” is realy good. Or Milou (Clovis Cornillac), a stagehand, labor agitator and tough ladies’ man. Also to rescue it and a newcomer chanteuse called Douce (Nora Arnezeder) who is really beautiful.

 The film is good to watch at home with your uncomplicated not very judging friends.

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