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A teacher and a gangster meet by chance in a small town pharmacy. As a friendship of sorts develops between these opposite personalities, each starts to envy the other and by the week's end, everything will change for both of them. Written by
Sujit R. Varma
European cinema again; again originality, again stuff almost unique that I'm afraid I'll never find something similar. Here, the story about two people, and those two alone, and it is not easy two keep up ninety minutes developing their experiences. You need to have a good eye, pace, and respect for your characters.
These characters are Milan (Johnny Hallyday), a thief; and Monsieur Manesquier (Jean Rochefort), a retired literature professor. Their differences make their encounters scary. One, an old man who likes to talk and is fascinated by this mysterious obscure man in strange clothes; Manesquier enters Milan's room and imagines to be in a fantasy world he couldn't live in.
Milan is quiet and soft talking, but induces the old man into the drinking again, into excitement and adventures; and after meeting his pals he even doubts about carrying on with the only thing he came to do to this town: rob a bank. He reaches the limit of giving a literature lesson to one of Manesquier's pupils.
The camera is in love with them both, and presents each one in an original way when they are on screen. Different colors, postures, followings. Each one might hide something; there's a past, but that's not what this story that wanders through coincidences and casualties of life wants to show.
A simple aspirin, a glass of water; what can that lead to. The anxiety of a man to be part of something he never lived, on one side. On the other side the silence and intrigue of the little conversation. The glasses of wine, the lunches that seem to say much but are saying almost nothing about the characters.
The music, by Pacscal Estève, is very important to the film; giving to it a touch of Westerns style, playing to represent the state of mind and humor of the characters when we see them, or simply, not playing at all; and that's very good sometimes. Ivan Maussion's production design is also a good point for that matter, with his deserted streets and lonely places.
The screenplay results to be cultured and very intelligent. Patrice Leconte's frequent writing collaborator leaves everything in his character's hands; because the words are his. Also frequently cast by Leconte, Jean Rochefort's delivery is impressing in his measured role, that requires little but well done. It's Johnny Hallyday, however, the one who steals, or shines in his loneliness. With all those looks and his face, always full of hidden things.
Metaphors join us again, in the movie; for us to interpret. I tried, and everyone will, but I say: thank Europe for these movies; it's worth and more a kind of pleasure to watch them!
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