Eugene Green has come up with a quirky unclassifiable entry here with elements of satire, black comedy and tragedy rubbing shoulders that fit where they touch. Denis Podalydes and Olivier Gourmet act everyone off the screen but they do have strong assistance from the script in which the latter is more Eyde Gorme than Olivier Gourmet and the former appears to be sending up Gilbert Adair. The limerick about the young man from Racine who invented a strange new machine (concave or convex, it would fit either sex/with attachments for those in between)was seldom more apropos than in Gourmet's take on Phaedra which has to be seen to be believed whilst Podalydes succeeds in creating an entirely new kind of faggot, light years away from Michel Serrault's Screaming Queen in La Cage aux folles. This is one of those plots in which tenuous links between disparate characters never quite mesh. Camille Carroz (Christine) is much too intense for boyfriend Adrien Micheaux and finally finds a soulmate in an equally intense (but thankfully unseen) student who is passionate about 12th century dietary conditions in Normandy. In the wake of their break-up Micheaux falls in love with the voice of Sarah (Natacha Regnier)a soloist on an album Christine had given him as a Christmas present. We, of course, have been following the traumas of Christine, who despite being in a solid-seeming relationship with Manuel (Alexis Loret)is vaguely unhappy and not just because of the cruel criticism of her singing at the hands of Podalydes. Although continuous the film is also episodic and punctuated by picture postcard views of Paris and Classical French film buffs will be delighted to catch a glimpse of the Hotel du Nord, albeit as it is today but still in the same location on the Canal St Martin. Quirky, uneven, but one that can definitely stand a second viewing in, say, six months or so. 7/10
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