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Sweet and Sour (1963)

Dragées au poivre (original title)
Gerard, a young man from a "good family" dreams of becoming an actor. To do this, he follows everywhere his sister Frédérique who is infatuated with cinéma vérité.



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Raymond La Légion
L'homme au micro
Le plombier d'amour
Une striptiseuse
Jackie la p...
Sophie Desmarets ...
Lulu la pianiste
Anne Doat ...
L'échotière de la grande interview
Jacques Dufilho ...
Monsieur Alfonso
La pauvre Ginette
Valérie Lagrange ...
Une effeuilleuse
Daniel Laloux ...
Gabriel, l'homme à la caméra
Monsieur Rakanowsky
Andréa Parisy ...
Une éplucheuse


Gerard, a young man from a "good family" dreams of becoming an actor. To do this, he follows everywhere his sister Frédérique who is infatuated with cinéma vérité.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


A comedy of errors, manners...........and immorals!




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Release Date:

4 September 1963 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Sweet and Sour  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


Spoofs West Side Story (1961) See more »


Les fonds flous
Performed by Alexandra Stewart
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User Reviews

Kind of slipshod but provides a canny look at French pop-culture in the early sixties
15 September 2016 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

"Dragées au Poivre" 1963, at Cannes 2016 . Directed by Jacques Baratier with guest appearances by numerous stars and celebrities. The restored film was viewed in the elegant Soixantaine hall behind the Grand Palais and was introduced by Gianluca Farinelli of the Cineteca di Bologna where the restoration took place. Mr. Farinelli spoke of the difficulties involved in the piecing together of salvaged portions of the film from diverse sources. Bologna is one of the main world centers for rescuing important old films such as this from oblivion

The title of the film, which literally translates as "Sweets loaded with Pepper" suggests the trick that children would play on adults by handing them a delicious looking sweet bonbon which turns out to be loaded with pepper. When the French New Wave and so-called Cinema Verité movements were all the rage -- the age of Beatle mania --when Godard and his followers thought they were so much more clever and creative than the older generation of French filmmakers, and stars like Jean-Paul Belmondo were busy breaking the classic leading man mold, Jacque Baratier, a multi-faceted artist writer and filmmaker chose to take these wise guy upstarts down a peg or two by signing them up to make fun of themselves in a slam-bang musical comedy burlesque that was a mold breaker on its own. The film opens within a long sequence featuring an established older tennis star with a Long Polish name (played by Jean-Pierr Marielle) who goes down to humiliating defeat. 6-1, 6-1, 6-1 at the hands of an upstart Young Player who doesn't even know how to hold the racket properly -- and this sets the tone for the entire film. The younger generation breaking all the rules and shaming their elders in the process.

In a series of loosely connected sketches enlivened by take-offs on Beatles style music (called Yé-yé in France at the time) we see iconic actors like Belmondo and Simone Signoret, Jacques Dufilho, Claude Brasseur, François Périer, and Anna Karina doing parodies of their own screen personae while young stand up comedian Guy Bedos does a dry interpretation of himself throughout connecting all the skits. It is significant that Bedos was a great fan of American stand up comedian and acid anti-establishment satirist, Lenny Bruce, who broke every rule of acceptable comedy and was often arrested for doing so. I don't know if Bruce was ever saw this picture, but he would have loved it if he did. "Dragées au Poivre" misleadingly entitled "Sweet and Sour" in English release -- suggesting Chinese food rather than bold heady satire -- was probably lost in the Nouvelle Vague shuffle outside of France but it stands alone, even today, as a unique if rough-shod instance of a Gallic parody of the anti-culture of the time in France.

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