The director's cut (restored version) opens and closes with theatrical curtains in homage to Georges Méliés films, and is divided into four parts, separated by title cards: I - L'insomnie [... See full summary »
The director's cut (restored version) opens and closes with theatrical curtains in homage to Georges Méliés films, and is divided into four parts, separated by title cards: I - L'insomnie [a man can't sleep, and reads about vampires until sunrise, when his wife finally wakes up and reveals her true nature]; II - Le cinématographe [unlike 1895, employees leaving the factory, or the office, are a much eventful thing, and finding a sit in a crowded cinema is quite a task]; III - Tant qu'on a la santé [in modern times, everyone suffers of stress, and the psychiatrist most of all other people]; IV - Nous n'irons plus au bois [a week-end hunter, a couple out for a pic-nic, and a farmer setting a wire fence find that a large wood is not large enough to accommodate them all]. Written by
In "As Long as You've Got Your Health", Pierre Étaix brings us a film in which jokes come one after another after another at such a rapid pace that it boggles the mind! And, while many of the jokes fall flat, enough of them give you a little chuckle that it's probably worth your time. Don't expect a lot of plot here--and in many ways it reminds me of several Jerry Lewis films--particularly "The Bellboy". Both have minimal plots and both have rapid-fire jokes--some of which fall very flat and some of which are very clever. And, like the Lewis films, this one relies extensively on physical humor. It sure appears as if Étaix has learned from Lewis--and, of course, Lewis from Jacques Tati. And, of course, Tati from.....and the list goes on and on!
The film is broken into four segments. They are as follows:
L'insomnie--Pierre Étaix plays a man who cannot sleep and so he sits in bed reading a scary novel about vampires. On the plus side, the visuals were great--quite spooky and exciting to see. On the negative, it just wasn't all that funny and relied on a final punchline...which doesn't work if you anticipate it happening.
Le cinématographe--The setting is a movie theater. At first, the film is about all the crazy little annoyances that can occur at such a place. Later, Étaix falls asleep and dreams that life is like a long series of commercials (much like they did on "The Carol Burnett Show"). The jokes are hit and miss but there are so many, I didn't mind. Kind of fun.
Tant qu'on a la santé--About life's little annoyances. Not funny in the least and pretty flat. Étaix is in this segment the least of the four. My least favorite of the four segments.
Nous n'irons plus au bois--Étaix is out hunting, an old man is TRYING to work and a couple are on a picnic. All three end up annoying each other and there are LOTS of jokes here. Most of the time, Étaix unintentionally instigates many of the problems. This is by far the best and funniest of the four segments and my wife and I particularly liked the duck.
So there you have it--four small films within a film. Some bad, some very good and some in between. It's a real mixed bag, that's for sure.
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