Louis Coline assists the head of advertising of a department store in decline. He has little to do, but seems content with his marriage to Nina, his visits to his mother and grandmother, ...
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Louis Coline assists the head of advertising of a department store in decline. He has little to do, but seems content with his marriage to Nina, his visits to his mother and grandmother, and poker games with friends. When new boss Bernard Malair arrives to turn the store around, Louis fears for his job; but Bernard, with his numbers man Paul and his factotum François, invites Louis into an inner circle of long hours of work, nightclubs, and dinners with an androgynous vamp. Nina objects, but Louis cannot say no to Bernard's demands, no matter how personal. In desperation, Nina leaves Louis, but that drives him further into Bernard's orbit. Can anything break this spell? Written by
Louis Coline tries to keep up with his demanding wife and an equally demanding boss. They both want something else of him. How to cope with this? I liked the theme of how work can have an immense influence on your life. Louis is under pressure and we see him trying to cope with it. How would you respond when at midnight your boss (Michel Piccoli) and his aid (Jean-Pierre Kalfon) are on your doorstep and seconds later they are in your kitchen baking an egg? Shaving naked in your bathroom the next morning? And your wife wants to leave in her nightgown in the middle of the night?
I did not enjoy the film thoroughly, unfortunately. I waited for the magic to happen but it never came. The reason is, I guess, that I found the film just too regular. A regular story about a regular guy, living with other regular people, in a style of filming that is equally regular. It was visually not very enticing. I am not familiar with the work of Pierre Granier-Deferre, but my guess is it shall be mostly slow and observing.
I wouldn't go as far as calling the film bad. It is a solid production after all. It also boasts a couple of decent actors, Gerard Lanvin in his early years being surprisingly sensitive; Nathalie Baye as his wife; and Michel Piccoli as his boss. But it was actually only Jean-Pierre Kalfon who was outstanding (he would've fitted greatly in The Wolf of Wall Street).
On the other hand this observing style works fine when you watch the film as some sort of time machine, to have an honest view of life in 1981 (and not the punky kitsch version of these years the media has invented). As how it was for probably most people: working, family, eating, sleeping. Not as different as life nowadays.
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