Good if rather linear story of a smooth talker, a haberdasher, a young virtuous lady and...
What I found remarkable about this story is how with so little, he could keep us entertained, and not really knowing what was going to happen next. Augustin Labarbe is fine as the cynical professional lier/ "journalist"/ man of the world. Like when he plays the weight of scandal to his advantage by manipulating the victim into believing that it's in HER interest to withdraw her complaint. A thief, he got recognition by all the wrong reasons. Morin and specially "Madame Morin" as the comic relief act without glitches. Hande Kodja as la belle doesn't fall behind, although for some reason I didn't find her convincing. She's as ruthless as anybody here, from the start. Sophie Artur as la tante Tonnelet, is my favourite, pivotal role.
The reconstruction of the epoch, places, customs etc. is fine. The portrait of provincial life, with the importance of rumour/ prestige, "good natured plump housewifes", ample talking "pater familias" and network of domestic lies is what this film has to offer.
I have the idea that his characters are either big time looser or winners by deceit. No middle grounds. No "heroes", no good deeds, but a lot of victims. Don't get me wrong, French cinema is famous for depicting midbrows and mediocrity, but I feel at least there was the resource of irony, some self humour and somebody likable even as he/ she becomes a tragic figure. I find nothing of the like here. Probably the world changed a lot since this works were written. Which still make this stories great for learning about not so far away history or "sociology", but not so good as bedtime stories or "your favourite literature". I did feel empty and rather unsatisfied after watching this. I have the feeling Guy was a kind of misanthrope, but probably it'd only take reading his works to prove me wrong.
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