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Jeanne has an appetite for love that can never be satisfied. Lovers at every corner of her life she is still in search of that "one". When a impromptu tryst on the subway with Olivier gives her butterflies like never before she finally finds herself in love, truly in love. Yet she continues her affairs but now with a realization that they are not what she wants, she wants Olivier. Olivier reluctant to continue the romance with Jeanne for fear of hurting her or worse yet her seeing him at his worse. Olivier reveals to Jeanne he has AIDS from a bad needle during his heroine use. This however does not scare Jeanne off and her love for him turns her into a new person who wants to care for him, but that is not what he wants. The two share a common friend that is an AIDS Activist but they don't know it. Then Olivier because severely ill and Jeanne professes her love and her infidelity. That is the last she ever sees of Olivier. She returns to the hospital to find he has left with his ...Written by
Leslie Erentreich, Woodland Hills, CA USA
When this film first came out in France, a friend reported that this represented the sad state of the declining French film industry, that it had now resorted to making AIDS musicals. With government subsidies, of course.
In fact, the film was a little better than I had been expecting, although I'll withhold comment on the plot outline: Beautiful, bra-less, teen nympho has trouble meeting men. Her latest boyfriend has HIV.
You'd think she'd be the one with HIV given her lifestyle, but, sorry, I'm withholding comment on the plot.
The boyfriend with AIDS story was much much more movingly and believably handled by the late Cyril Collard in his multi-César-winning "Les nuits fauves" (1992) with Romane Bohringer as the pretty brunette girlfriend on that occasion.
This film about Jeanne and her new beau tries hard to be charming. You have to give it some credit for sheer nerve: the production number with singing, dancing janitors, or the plumber warbling his Toilet Song. (The French chanson has been ailing too, much like the film industry.)
There was a minor scandal in the US some years ago. The government had spent thousands of dollars on a toilet. Whether thousands are better spent on a toilet or on a song about toilets, we'll allow history to decide.
French musicals have always been an acquired taste, a taste which still eludes this viewer. To me, this one is less brittle than Jacques Demy's innovative, understated, pop-operatic "Les parapluies de Cherbourg" (1964) with Catherine Deneuve -- considered an unassailable masterpiece in France, or so I understand -- and less dumb than Demy's final "Trois places pour le 26" (1988), with Yves Montand and Mathilda May. Of those two leads, he can be described as « une des dernières légendes vivantes » while she is « considérée comme la meilleure et la plus belle des actrices françaises de la jeune génération », at least according to the hyperbole of the video release, using the glowing terms one usually reserves for films known to be failures.
This film in fact carries on the Demy family tradition, with Jacques's son Mathieu playing the boyfriend.
There are a couple of songs here which would not have seemed out of place in "Les parapluies" -- e.g. the one about choosing jam or honey for breakfast (sacré bleu!) -- but in general the film was not an out-and-out embarrassment.
The lyrics aside, the actual score is inferior to "Les parapluies", although the composer tried for greater variety -- the Chinese restaurant ditty about Tsing Tao beer goes for an Oriental flavour.
The film's greatest attraction is its star(let), Virginie Ledoyen, who is rarely off the screen. She doesn't have a great range, but there's some potential there. And a nice left profile. She certainly looks very sleek in a red cheongsam. Teenage North American males would probably like Virginie, assuming they ever tire of Jennifer Love Hewitt.
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