A young woman arrives in Paris where she finds a job as a waitress in bar next on Avenue Montaigne that caters to the surrounding theaters and the wealthy inhabitants of the area. She will meet a pianist, a famous actress and a great art collector, and become acquainted with the "luxurious" world her grandmother has told her about since her childhood.
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Jessica, raised by her grandmother, comes to Paris and gets a job at a bar across from a performance complex where a play, a concert, and an art auction will occur the same evening. It's a world in flux: the play's star wants off a popular TV soap that's made her rich, and she covets the lead in a film about de Beauvoir and Sartre; the pianist hates the concert circuit, but his wife who's his manager may leave him if he quits; a self-made widower with a girlfriend less than half his age is selling his collection of modern art - his son, a professor, objects to his father's love life. The stage manager at the complex is resigning after 30 years. Jessica sets the tone for how all plays out. Written by
When Dupontel (Jean-François Lefort) gives his concert and takes off his shirt and jacket they change places, first in front of the long end of the piano then in the next cut much closer to the keyboard end. See more »
Before end credits: "À Suzanne" (dedicated to Suzanne Flon who died at 87 shortly after filming was completed), as we hear an off-screen quote by her - taken from earlier in the film - where the elderly character she plays serenely states that she had a good life. See more »
Avenue Montaigne aka Fauteuils d'orchestre or Orchestra Seats is the second movie directed by Daniéle Thompson and written by her and her son Christopher Thompson that I have seen. I like her work very much and look forward to see her Jet Lag (2002), another romantic comedy or rather light drama with Juliette Binoche and Jean Réno.
Few months ago I saw my first Thompson's movie, La Bûche (1999), the stories of three sisters, the Parisians with the sweet Russian names, Sonya (Emmanuelle Béart), Lyuba (Sabine Azémaand), and Milla (Charlotte Gainsbourg), and their parents who have been divorced for 25 years but still have a lot to say to each other. I was charmed by the clever, funny, touching and poignant Christmas dramedy in Paris. I expected to like "Avenue Montaigne" as much as La Bûche and I was not disappointed. The story of a young provincial girl Jessica, a waitress at the legendary café which has been frequented by the rich, famous, and talented for many years is linked with the stories of an actress, a piano player and an art collector. All three are successful, wealthy, talented, and...unhappy. Jacques, an art collector is determined to sell the priceless pieces he and his late wife had collected for 30 years. Jean-François (Albert Dupontel), internationally renowned concert pianist is suffocating in the life where every day is scheduled for many years ahead by his wife, who is also his manager. He adores music and he is madly in love with his wife whom he may lose if he quits his career. Valerie Lemercier as Catherine steels the film as the hugely popular and wealthy TV star who dreams of playing in the Art movies. Her scene with the American film director, Sobinski (Sidney Pollack) who came to Paris looking for an actress in his biopic about Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre elevates the nice stylish comedy to the higher level. Lemercie was incredibly passionate, riveting, and yes, sexy when she gave Sobinski her vision of the celebrated author, philosopher, feminist, who was a muse and inspiration, friend and lover to some of the most brilliant men from the last century. I would run, not just walk to see the movie about Simone de Beauvoir with Lemercie as Simone.
Set in always captivating Paris, filled with the thoroughly chosen soundtrack that features Beethoven's Finale de la sonate 'La Tempête' ( my favorite Beethoven's sonata), "Consolation N°3 en ré bémol majeur" composed by Franz Liszt, and the songs of such French singing legends as Gilbert Bécaud, Juliette Gréco, and Charles Aznavour, the latest Danièle Thompson's film is a charm and delight. Daughter of director Gérard Oury has inherited her father's talent and I will be waiting for her every new movie.
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