A musical drawing room farce set in Paris in October, 1925. Gilberte, in middle-age, flirts with men but loves her husband Georges, wishing he were more demonstrative. He's negotiating a ...
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A musical drawing room farce set in Paris in October, 1925. Gilberte, in middle-age, flirts with men but loves her husband Georges, wishing he were more demonstrative. He's negotiating a deal with an American, Eric Thomson, who turns out to be Gilberte's first husband from an annulled and secret stateside marriage. Along with her sister Arlette, Gilberte begs Eric not to tell Georges about the marriage. Meanwhile, a young artist, Charly, pursues Gilberte while Arlette tries to match him with the young Huguette, who loves him. Will Eric play along or try to re-win Gilberte's affection? Can Gilberte play one off against another? And who will manage to kiss whom on the lips? Written by
Like several other reviewers I was taken to the film 'cold' without knowing anything about it, and after several minutes was expecting the somewhat lacklustre tunes and stock-farce characters to tip over into something edgy and contemporary. Mais non. However is this such a bad thing? Given the French predilection for unflinching realism and tragic endings, Pas Sur La Bouche can be enjoyed as a salute to the traditions of the Comedy Francaise, an expression of nationalist (anti-Brussels?) sentiment, and as a crafted product as lovingly detailed as a reproduction Deco sideboard. One is almost expected to read afterwards that Resnais had an ironic or iconoclastic subtext in mind, but the film seems to be charmingly irony-free throughout. There are no patronising modernist jabs at the shallowness of pre-war bourgeois entertainment, and in fact the period is recreated with a warm and sentimental glow. It can be argued in fact that the play has been not so much adapted for the screen as embalmed, for there are definite longueurs, the singing voices are almost uniformly mediocre, and the lack of varied or outdoor settings does detract. All in all, a charming, civilised and unexpected entertainment from one of the self-styled intellectuals of French cinema, and a brilliant recreation of an ensemble of now-forgotten French 'types'. To get an idea of precisely how far comedy has 'advanced' in 70 years, compare with Legally Blonde or My Best Friend's Wedding and you'll see my point.
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