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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Fu'ad Aït Aattou,
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 blue 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 »
Extremely hard to explain but very easy to enjoy....
This is an extremely well made film full of wonderful performances and great direction. The problem is, explaining exactly why I enjoyed it isn't all that easy--much of due to the rather unconventional plot.
The film begins in 1936. A very ordinary and unassuming looking man named Pigoil is being interrogated by the police about a murder he apparently committed. The rest of the film consists mostly of events from the last half year that led to this killing.
Pigoil and his friends work at a theater in Paris that has seen better days. They put on a variety show but the show is abruptly cut short when an evil fascist mobster takes over the place and shuts it down--leaving everyone out of work. After months of looking for jobs, Pigoil is so frustrated that he decides he and his out of work friends will just squat--take over the empty theater and stage a revival. There is A LOT more to the film--including several key subplots just too complicated to explain in the review. Oddly, however, late in the film it suddenly becomes, briefly, a slightly surreal song and dance number--like you'd find in a 1940s musical! But, once again, there is SO MUCH to this film that it's just one you need to see for yourself.
Some might no enjoy the film's somewhat episodic style or not understand the historical context for the movie. After all, today few would realize that France and much of Europe (and even the US) were experiencing fascist nationalistic movements. And, at the same time, Communists were also making in-roads with the masses--very much like the crap that was going on in Nazi Germany at the time--just not as organized or militant.
Overall, this is a cute and well-made film--one you will enjoy if you just give it a chance--it sneaks up on you!
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