The question here is why this film has taken so long to find an audience. Produced in 1995 and lightly reviewed in America, it is
only now available in video stores.
This movie works wonderfully on two levels: a whimsical caper and love story built around an attempt to pass off a young travel guide as the illegitimate son of a fictional New Wave director; and a feast of cameos and in-jokes involving figures from French cinema in the 60Õs and 70Õs.
Comedic elements at play include a touring Georgian singing group, their young Russian escort Dinara trying to understand French idioms by questioning the tour guide, and her love interest, Harvey (ÒWhat is Ônot my thing?Ó), the unscrupulous chauffeur who attempts to pass off Harvey as the illegitimate offspring of the dead director and the search for a copy of his last unseen film.
Each introduction of Harvey to various French film legends who play themselves elicits reminiscences of Gascogne by those who worked with or under him. (ÒYou know the 1960Õs? Well he invented them.Ó ) Stephane Audran is particularly delicious portraying a caricature of herself and you donÕt have to be a French cinema buff to appreciate the scene where Harvey is introduced to director Claude Chabrol dining at home alone.
New Wave references and film clips abound including a chase sequence inter-cut with shots from GodardÕs ÒBreathless.Ó There
is even a bonus bit of philosophy thrown in when Harvey listens to the charming Dinara talk about the fall of communism and the changes in Russia and opines, ÒFreedom is managing your soul without too much soul searching.Ó The soul of this film is simply fun and entertaining.
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