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Four comments on a movie which has fallen into oblivion in its native country; among the four -positive,quite rightly so- reviews,no one comes from Trintignant's land .
The first of the two movies the famous actor has directed (for the record,the second is "Le Maître Nageur " ) the movie belongs to the handful of works which goes off the beaten track ,a thousand miles away from the French seventies film scene.
The subject is close to that of Douglas Hickox's "theater of blood" (released the same year,coincidence)in which Denis Price and his daughter( Diana Rigg )slew all the panel of judges who had refused to give the actor the award ,imitating Shakespeare's tragedies
Shakespeare is also present in Trintignant's work ;the actor/director appears himself in a cameo :he directs "Hamlet" and delivers this excellent line" You don't make an "Hamlet" without breaking eggs" ,in French of course ,for the French language uses the same expression.
But "Une Journée Bien Remplie " is given a very different treatment,sometimes amateurish,sometimes self-conscious ,but never "politically correct" -and with his gruesome farce,it may be possible that Trintignant wanted to express his disgust for death penalty and the "right" some people have to send their fellow men to the guillotine -one must remember that death penalty was abolished by François Mitterrand in 1981- .And the "A Suivre" (= to be continued) of the final cast and credits might indicate that grandpa is ready to take over from the baker (and not for bread and croissants).
The absence of star may explain the complete commercial failure of the effort;nevertheless Jacques Dufilho is well known over here: a stage actor,he was almost always given supporting parts ( in a career which spans four decades)for his physical appearance is not what you call bankable.In the only film in which he plays the lead,he looks so much the part I do not really know who else Trintignant could have cast in the part of this deadpan cynical dispenser of justice ;dressed in black, in a black motorcycle and sidecar ,almost always silent ,in a movie which is half silent anyway.Editing is often disturbing, Trintignant often denies his audience the suspense and if he depicts the murder in the hospital in lavish details,some of them are told by the radio -and we can appreciate the brilliant superintendent 's deductive reasoning ! The director even allows himself ,when the murderer listens to the radio ,to announce :"the track you've just heard is taken from the "Une Journée Bien Remplie" movie score " ;the black humor is constant:" Five at noon! says grandpa,you're on schedule!"
Noblesse Oblige ! (kind hearts and coronets)
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