Saturday, 31 January 2009

Le Goût des Autres (2000)

I don't have much to say about it but I thought I'd start with the last film I saw.
I think my mum bought this one at Christmas and we finally got around to watching it on thursday after a hard day of bookbinding, pasting and cutting, etc. Usually we don't watch foreign films after a day of concentration (eyestrain and subtitles? I don't think so.) I think I was just so tired that I couldn't be bothered to protest!
First I'll set your minds at ease: French actress Anne Alvaro is NOT Rebecca Hall's mother despite looking EXACTLY like her. I am a tad disappointed by this, I was hoping Peter Hall had met her on a theatre tour of France, sigh, how romantic!
So the film is about a boring but well-meaning businessman discovering culture late in life. Picture your crass dad, who walks around art galleries laughing, suddenly finding he appreciates a piece of art. Maybe that's just my dad but I have a feeling it's most.
It's a comedy, but not slapstic (the French still make them! See Les Visiteurs and Le Dîner de Cons - both most excellent but often cringeworthy!!), maybe it's not politically correct to laugh at someone's misfortunes, that's why it's a French film not Hollywood, it all ends well for our lead so why not laugh at him on the way? "I don't want to live in a candy shop!!" was the subtitled quote I enjoyed the most, an awful wife is always a nice addition in a French film, for God sake, you want him to leave her to pine over the woman he's fallen in love-at-first-sight with! Off the top of my head I can't think of an American film where you wouldn't give a damn about the wife who's being abandoned!! Such good minor characters! The Chauffeur's life were the absolute best parts of the film for me.
It was a typical and simple wonderful French film about nothing in particular, the French could make a film about walking in the street and it would be fabulous (they probably have!). The first French film I saw at the cinema was a confusing tragedy, the title escapes me as I was only there to hang out with a bunch of cool new friends- who I remember fondly as a bunch of stoners. I do however remember it ending and us all shouting "The Piano!!!" and being thrilled that it ended with a shot of a piano on the back of a truck driving past the body of the dead lead. I think every so often in the film the director cut to an unconnected sub-plot of a little street boy who was a marvelous musician...So when the piano finally arrived after the boring film ended we were all so amazed and pleased that the two stories finally crossed over. The reason I'm writing about this piano incident is that the final scene of Le Goût des Autres is so ingenious, so brilliant that you forget that the film wasn't maybe your cup of tea and you just smile at how clever and ironic it is.

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