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The first time I had seen this movie, a long long time ago,I did not like it at all;today I would be more indulgent.
I had found Carole Laure pretty bad but ,when I watched again the movie,I realized that actually it's her part which is hopeless:no actress could get away with so pathetic a story:Juliette is to meet her lover in Montelimar ,but she 's stopped by a policeman and she realizes that she's driving her lover's wife's car ;in brief ,her squeeze walked out on her;she is then harassed by "Le Cousu" ,a sexually obsessed half-wit ,and not only once;she's almost run over by a car .A man (Jean Yanne) takes her on board and .....car crash !enough is enough! that Juliette can survive such an ordeal is beyond belief!
Denis Amar wanted to depict the Summer rush ,when everybody leaves for a well-earned holiday:as anyone knows,the road kills and in the hot summer ,accidents claim the lives of too many people ;he gets support from the army's health services,from the road safety administration and from the Red Cross....
.....Which does not prevent the characters from accidents !apart from Juliette's misfortunes of virtue (and of the highway), a man ,whose mother-in-law demands punctuality ,kills his wife in a car crash and flees,leaving a distraught son;a Beauf (=typical of the archetypal lower-middle-class Frenchman),played by the always reliable Jean- Pierre Marielle ,wants his car ,even without brakes!!the young mechanic keeps repeating it's dangerous ,the vacationist who doesn't want to lose his rented accommodation cares nothing about ....And the telly tells us more :6 cars fell from a viaduct,God only knows why,and a man from the toll gate gets lynched by a wild group of drivers....
Meanwhile ,in the hospital ,surgeons and nurses work miracles,working overtime and trying to save their fellow men's precious lives: Marielle's son's fate ,for this bunch of party animals comes aside as a shock.Anyway,Amar begins his movie in a hospital.
The most moving scene shows a couple of old persons,coming to the scrapyard to open a glove compartment to pick up these foolish things that mean a lot.
Yes ,the mass exodus of people from Paris and other major cities at the beginning of the holiday period ,especially late July/early August is murderous;the problem with Amar's movie is that it deals with cardboard characters, nay unsympathetic ones (with the exception of the barmaid played by Marion Game);the subject had to be broached ,but it is given a "much too much" treatment which mars the good intentions.Too bad.
NB :Watch out for Christophe Lambert's cameo :he's the doctor who "explains" to the desperate Marielle why they need blood.
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