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In the 1980 French countryside, farmer Jojo and his ill-tempered wife Lulu hate each other, though their respective interests speak against divorce. The only thing that keeps the oppressed Jojo from murder is the threat of the guillotine... Written by
If you know Sacha Guitry's immortal "Le Poison", this movie may seem a little disconcerting to you. It is a fairly faithful retelling of Guitry's astonishingly cynical story, but with many of the sharp corners rounded. Not a betrayal of the original, but a different, typically Jean Becker, way of telling the same story. The wife is far more developed as a character, and we are given reasons to feel sorry for her on occasion. Josiane Balasko, who plays the part, is also a first-rate actress. Braconnier, played by the equally gifted actor Jacques Villeret, is not as aggressive as Michel Simon's character; he borders on the timid. Humanity as Jean Becker sees it, in other words, and not how Sacha Guitry saw it.
If you don't know Guitry's film, you can enjoy this for what it is, a funny and yet warm comedy. If you do know Guitry's film, the écart between the two will bring out nicely what was typical of/unique to Guitry.
A strong recommendation for both movies.
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