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Parlez-moi de la pluie (2008)

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Agnes Jaoui plays a local political candidate Agathe Villanova, who returns to her childhood home in the south of France in order to help her sister Florence (Pascale Arbillot) sort through... See full summary »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Agathe Villanova
...
Michel Ronsard
...
Karim
...
Florence
...
Stéphane (as Guillaume de Tonquedec)
...
Antoine
Mimouna Hadji ...
Mimouna
Florence Loiret Caille ...
Aurélie (as Florence Loiret-Caille)
Anne Werner ...
Séverine
Laurent Jarroir ...
Guillaume
Jean-Claude Baudracco ...
Ernest, le paysan 1
Luc Palun ...
Didier, le paysan 2
Marc Betton ...
Horowitz, le producteur
François Gédigier ...
Le monteur
Bernard Nissile ...
L'homme du baptême (as Bernard Nissille)
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Storyline

Agnes Jaoui plays a local political candidate Agathe Villanova, who returns to her childhood home in the south of France in order to help her sister Florence (Pascale Arbillot) sort through their recently deceased mother's belongings. While she's there, the son (Jamel Debbouze as Karim) of family maid (Mimouna Hadji) takes advantage of her presence and attempts to interview her as part of a documentary about successful women that he's undertaken with his film school teacher, Michel (co-writer Jean-Pierre Bacri). However, Michel's intentions aren't quite what they seem, as he's having an affair with Florence and hoping to persuade her to leave her husband. Meanwhile, Karim finds his own marriage threatened when his attractive hotel co-worker (Florence Loiret-Caille) declares an interest in him. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

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Details

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Release Date:

18 June 2010 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Let it rain  »

Filming Locations:

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Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$15,660 (USA) (25 June 2010)

Gross:

$106,093 (USA) (6 August 2010)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

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2.35 : 1
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Der Gondelfahrer
Composed by Franz Schubert
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User Reviews

An American opinion...
28 October 2014 | by (New York City) – See all my reviews

When I say "an American opinion" I don't mean "an idiot's opinion" although that has been known to happen. No, I just mean that this is the opinion of someone whose approach to cinema is somewhat sociocentric--that here we only have access to films that are "mainstream" or, at best, foreign films that win awards at Cannes or are aggressively marketed for USA audiences. This film didn't win any awards that I know of, thus in popularity it plays second fiddle to writer/director/actress Agnès Jaoui's 2000 debut "The Taste of Others" which is similarly about the polite social & racial barriers that exist in everyday life.

"Parlez-moi de la pluie" (literal translation: "Speak to me about the rain") takes its title from an old French song by Georges Brassens called "L'Orage" ("The Storm"), a humorously tragic diddy about a man who has a 1-time affair with the wife of a lightning-arrester salesman during a thunderstorm. Unfortunately, the song never appears in the film although it does feature a snippet of the beautifully nostalgic "Twelfth of Never" by Nina Simone. What is the significance of the title? I'm still not sure, but the film definitely investigates the theme of covert/forbidden love and the purgatory of those who dwell in such affairs ("the other woman" or "the other man").

There are 3 love stories intertwined: A filmmaker is making a documentary about a feminist activist who happens to be the sister of the woman he is having a secret affair with, while secondly, the activist is having trouble with her own love life because her boyfriend feels that her career is her only true love, and thirdly, the filmmaker's assistant is a married man growing increasingly tempted by the overtures of a young woman he knows at work. Add to the jumble the fact that the assistant is the son of the maid who has worked in the activist's home all her life, and you have a bona fide Shakespearean comedy of errors, right?

Well, not exactly. And this is where my "American idiot" possibly comes in: I just didn't find the script to be very funny. The movie is listed as a comedy, so I assume I was supposed to laugh, but instead I found myself taking the situations very seriously. The funniest bits came from the filmmaker (played by Jean-Pierre Bacri) who we soon learn is a bumbling idiot behind the camera. Bacri's hushed arguments with his assistant (Jamel Debbouze, famous for his role as the grocery boy in "Amélie") were pretty funny and served to freshen things up every few minutes. Other than that, I felt like this was a pretty serious drama, heavy on interpersonal relationships and the complexities of social barriers that we impose upon ourselves. If you're ready for something like that, not a breezy comedy by any means, then you might enjoy this film.

While investigating the barriers of love & marriage, the film also focuses on social/racial barriers. Here I thought the film did an excellent job due to Jamel Debbouze's brilliant acting. Since he is the son of the activist's maid, he is conventionally subordinate to her and her family, even though they are now working together as equals. His facial expressions and short words say it all, like the scene where they are all having a garden party at an immaculately set table, and his mother is serving them. Jamel refuses to sit down and doesn't eat or drink anything, though nobody seems to notice his furious defiance. Later in the film, as his oppression comes to a boil, he exposes his "employers" with a powerful monologue--not about overt racism but about the insidious mockery of civilized bigotry that the elite commit without even knowing it. It really makes you stop and look at your own life, wondering if you may be guilty of the same offense.

And it's that last bit (and Jamel's memorable performance) that makes this a worthwhile film even though the comedy may fall short. Perhaps in France people understand the humor better. I do speak French but I still didn't really get any big laughs. But in the end I thought this was a nice character-driven story of everyday life. Agnès Jaoui's work has been compared to that of famed French director Eric Rohmer, and I can definitely see similarities to Rohmer's films like "A Tale of Springtime" in which simple conversations engender complicated human interactions. On the American side of the camera she reminds me of indy film darling Miranda July ("The Future", "Me and You and Everyone We Know") but without July's quirky humor. Or maybe Janoui's humor is there but I just didn't get it because I'm an American idiot ;)


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