Because of the stupid life in a pâté-factory, former singer Laura falls in love with a colleague, a much younger boy and boxer, and after a small performance, a reenactment of her singing character, she tries to reenter the national song contest.Written by
In the beginning, Liliane's monotonous, dull everyday life is shown. As a habit she reads a novel written by Marilyn French in the bus. In a following sequence, Jean and Liliane talk about ABBA. This is might be a reference to the ABBA song "The day before you came" about a woman telling the mundane details of her everyday-life of which reading Marilyn French is a part - until she meets - possibly - the love of her life. See more »
While sharing a bath with her Beaux, Isabelle Huppert's character is seen wearing a bra. Disappointing for him... See more »
'Souvenir' is the name of the song that propelled French singer Liliane to second place behind Abba in the 'European Song Contest' ("Those Swedes cheated for sure"). (Trivia fact: In real life, when Abba won the Eurovision Song Contest in Brighton, 1974, France did not enter. The actual runner-up was Italy's former winner Gigliola Cinquetti with the evocative 'Sì' ('Yes'), which Italian television refused to broadcast live in case it was seen as trying to influence the following month's divorce referendum.) Like so many Eurovision - sorry, Euro*pean* Song Contest entrants, Liliane's career failed to blossom and decades later she is holding down a dull job in a pâté factory. She finds herself attracted (despite his awful yellow moustache) to wannabe boxer Jean, 22 and still living with his parents. As their relationship develops, Jean coaxes Liliane into relaunching her career. Can she once again represent France on the international stage?
As Liliane, Isabelle Huppert does not have a marvellous singing voice and is rather stiff in executing the stage performances that were, apparently, choreographed for her. But she leaves behind the usual ice maiden, wafting-through-scenes-as-if-she-is-not-really-in-them shtick used in so many of her other films to make Liliane a sympathetic character who is hesitant to set herself up for another failure but sorely tempted by the lure of the stage. Kévin Azaïs, as Jean, is not stretched by the script but is perfectly competent.
"I wanted to make a movie for Sunday afternoons" said director Bavo Defurne when he introduced the film at the 2016 London Film Festival. The amount of shagging - albeit without nudity - it contains means 'Souvenir' is unlikely to turn up in BBC2's Sunday PM schedules, and I fear the cheesy song with which Liliane once more attempts Eurovision glory is likely to end up on the right-hand side of the scoreboard - whoever wrote it obviously has not watched the Contest since the 1970s! But this feel-good film, with its central characters for whom the viewer really does want the best, is itself a sweet-natured winner.
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