1 item from 2000
The fourth "City of Lights, City of Angels: A Week of New French Films" opened Tuesday at the Directors Guild of America with a screening of "Venus Beauty Institute", the big winner at this year's Cesar Awards, including best director for Tonie Marshall -- the second time a woman has won.
"Venus" also won best film, screenplay and young actress (for supporting player Audrey Tautou).
While it's no "The Hairdresser's Husband", "Venus" is a likable enough tale of female bonding and the never-ending quest for happiness and fulfillment when "mutual love doesn't exist." Set mainly within the confines of a neighborhood beauty parlor -- where women and a few men come for massages, facials and, in the case of one exhibitionist woman who likes to parade around in the buff, tanning -- the story is a rambling affair with no burning agenda.
A longtime employee with many loyal clients, Angele (Nathalie Baye) is unlucky in relationships and spends much of the movie coming to terms with an artistic young man Samuel Le Bihan) who falls in love with her and is not easily discouraged. Angele's co-worker Marie (Tautou) counts among her regulars a sad man (Robert Hossein) who had skin from his dead wife's buttocks grafted on him after a tragic accident, and the two drift together. Samantha (Mathilde Seigner) is the third staffer at the Paris salon and the one with the most serious problems.
Bulle Ogier as the shop owner, Emmanuelle Riva and Micheline Presle as Angele's aunts, Jacques Bonnaffe as her ex-boyfriend and Claire Nebout as the tanning woman round out the major players. Gently contrasting the warm, nourishing environment of the salon with the hard world outside, Marshall's direction is fine and the performances touching and realistic, even as the story lurches about with no urgent payoff or new insights into the lives of lonely hearts both seeking and scared silly by love.
VENUS BEAUTY INSTITUTE
Arte France Cinema
and Tabo Tabo Films
Screenwriter-director: Tonie Marshall
Producer: Gilles Sandoz
Director of photography: Gerard de Battista
Editor: Jacques Comets
Angele: Nathalie Baye
Nadine: Bulle Ogier
Antoine: Samuel Le Bihan
Jacques: Jacques Bonnaffe
Samantha: Mathilde Seigner
Marie: Audrey Tautou
L'aviateur: Robert Hossein
Running time -- 105 minutes
No MPAA rating
1 item from 2000
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