A man is charged with murder. He is Pigoil, the aging stage manager at Chansonia, a music hall in a Paris faubourg. His confession is a long flashback to New Year's Eve, 1935, when he ... See full summary »
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Jonathan Rhys Meyers,
A man is charged with murder. He is Pigoil, the aging stage manager at Chansonia, a music hall in a Paris faubourg. His confession is a long flashback to New Year's Eve, 1935, when he discovers his wife is unfaithful and Galapiat, the local mobster, closes the music hall. Over the next few months, Pigoil loses custody of his beloved son, Jo-Jo, and must find work. Pigoil and his pals take over the Chansonia as a co-op; Galapiat is momentarily benign. Their star is the young Douce, a girl from near Lille for whom Galapiat lusts. She in turn falls in love with Milou, a local Red. There are ups and downs, but mostly ups - but what about Jo-Jo and what about the murder? Written by
Faubourg is not French for "the district." It is a contraction of "faux bourg", French for "false town" and were used to designate smaller towns attached to larger towns or cities. A lot of these faubourgs were independent cities until they were attached to Paris and lost all independence around during the 17th and 18th century. A new outer wall was later erected around the city. These faubourgs, especially those on the East side, were usually white collar, with a very active night life. See more »
When Jacky accidentally turns on the radio while Pigoil is talking to his wife and her new lover, the radio is very loud immediately after Jacky flips the switch. On this type of old tube amplified radio, it would take several seconds for the tubes to heat up and amplify any signal, and the volume would go up very slowly. See more »
I may have seen one of the last musical hall revivals in London a few years ago on The Strandit was full of tinny song and dance that made you tap your feet and long for the good old days of vaudeville and innocence. The telly has pretty much killed that simple pleasure, but Paris 36, a melodramatic story of the revival of a Chansonia in northern Paris, 1936, revives the joy of ensemble acting and dancing, original music, and the intrigue so much a part of the lively arts when they become business and pleasure.
Three Parisians undertake saving a music hall in their section of Paris called Faubourg using the talents of a star-crossed couple supplying the on and off stage romance. The intrigue is much less than Cabaret's; the nostalgia is more than Cinema Paradiso's; it's all more Moulin Rouge than Amelie. The songs are fetching, made especially for the film, and the plot is pure cliché right down to the lecherous businessman and cute ingénue.
The background is unmistakably fascist versus socialist, owners battling workers for a depression-era slim slice of the economic pie and soul. Paris 36 risks it all with formulaic intrigue and predictable denouement. Yet throughout is a good cheer, a bel canto breeziness that draws you in to song, dance, history, and politics, never too heavy, light enough to make you wish that music hall still stood on The Strand.
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