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The movie from time to time flashes across my mind after I discovered the songs of Yves Montand. He sang well and I always want to see whether he acted well.
Just my luck that DVD of this title was and is still not easily available in town. Why? It is not a movie for green whippersnappers or precocious imps but the well-aged wise. It was filmed some twenty years ago and I then exactly lacked twenty years' maturity. My big thank you to the 27th French Cinepanorama held in this month, after having gained twenty more years experience in life, now I know how to enjoy this movie. If I saw the movie right after it was freshly produced in 1983, I am very sure I would not understand the main plot or subplot, the observant director Claude Sautet, not to mention his ideas. After all, Yves Montand is now lying six feet under inside the cemetery Père-Lachaise in Paris and Jacques Villeret (Gilbert)'s head has gone half-bald in the French box-office hit "Le Dîner de cons" where he plays the tricked "François Pignon".
The restaurant setting reminds me the frantic and noisy kitchen in "Dinner Rush": shouting chef, cooking heat, fire and smell, the orderly mess, clicking sound of cutlery and crockery, conflict between waiters and chef.
There are usually many subplots in Sautet's works because he was able to capture human sentiments, especially those of ordinary people leading ordinary life, well in details and display it with an undertone of melancholy humour, even for serious subjects like human alienation, one of the ideas showcased in Garçon!.
Resourceful Alex was once a tap dancer, though not very accomplished, he seems to be respected in the dancing room. With limited funds and resources, this maturing restaurant waiter aspires to start an amusement park on the beach and he makes it! "Jerry Maguire" is the American version of Alex. Both men are capable of winning the heart of many. Every one around them likes them. They go around women one after one pretty successfully, it's nothing novel to see that they have two or three at one time. For instance, Alex has frequent trysts with rich poodle Gloria, from whom he tactfully draws out a free-interest loan of FFr100,000. Besides, he is concurrently after Claire, an English language instructor whom he knew seventeen years ago at her father's wedding on a boat. On top of these two relationships, he keeps a punctuated contact with the down-and-out Coline.
On the surface, both Jerry and Alex are candies to all. Cruelly and honestly, it is Gilbert, Alex's room-mate and colleague, who is sharp at pointing out their common blind spot: they are not related to anybody, both American Jerry and French Alex only think about themselves. What different is, Jerry's ending gives us hope while the final rainy scene of Alex at his well-received amusement park tells us what reality tends to be like: remaining alone.
When Alex is successful with his career, his dream park, all his women left: both Gloria and Claire return to their husbands, Coline follows a younger waiter of the restaurant. To Alex, the lyrics of the golden oldie should be revised to be "And 'NOT' in my hour of need, I truly am, indeed, alone again, naturally."
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