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Need fluent French to enjoy this one
28 February 2013
It is rather ironical that all the ambitious camera work and creative editing of the French "Nouvelle Vague" directors--some would probably use less favorable epithets--was followed in the late 70s & 80s by a spate of low budget comedies, many of which would involve members of the "Troupe du Splendid" with such talented new faces as Gérard Jugnot, Thierry Lhermitte, Michel Blanc, or Christian Clavier. The "Les Bronzés" series is probably the best known example of the genre.

But let's not forget that back in the 60s the French public at large did not take all that much interest in the likes of Godard, Truffaut or Chabrol and were a lot more eager to line up in front of theaters in order to watch spoof film noir offerings like "Les Tontons Flingueurs" or traditional comedies such as "La Grande Vadrouille".

"C'est pas parce qu'on a rien à dire..." was released in 1975 and marks the transition between the older generation with household names such as Bernard Blier and Jean Lefèvre playing the main parts while the upcoming generation here represented by Jugnot and Lhermitte only briefly appear but would soon become favorites of the French public in their own right.

Interestingly, another protagonist of note in this movie, the "Dame Pipi" who is in charge of the public bathroom where most of the action takes place, is played by Tsilla Chelton (of "Tatie Danielle" fame) who taught an acting class at the time, and the Troupe du Splendid were among her students.

As to the movie per se, do not expect anything memorable, but the dialogs are consistently funny... (trust Blier, Lefèvre, and Serrault of course to deliver them in a convincing manner)... Just keep in mind that the whole thing would be quite difficult to translate into English. I suspect that adequate fluency in the French language and a fair understanding of Parisian slang--as well as a thorough knowledge of French popular culture--are prerequisites in order to enjoy this unpretentious little movie to the full.
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Grossly overrated
10 July 2011
Warning: Spoilers
I had never seen any movies by Italian director Luchino Visconti and boy... was I disappointed. Beyond some nice black and white photography and adequate camera work, I didn't see much else that even remotely justifies all the fuss. I hear Visconti was a great theatre director, but directing movies is a different matter. I had to check the site to verify the date this movie was made. Such overacting on the part of practically all the cast made me think of silent movies that were shot back in the twenties when the actors had to compensate for the absence of sound. I watched this movie with my wife and after two rather depressing hours we both broke into a fit of giggles, when right near the end, 'la mamma' opens her apartment's door and there is this close-up on Simone's face. I'm OK with stereotypes, but laying it on this thick is just ridiculous. I find it hard to believe anyone would come up with a film like this in... 1960, the same year Michelangelo Antonioni was filming l'Avventura -- not to mention all the dazzling inventions of the French Nouvelle Vague. The only thing that I truly enjoyed about 'Rocco' was Annie Girardot's performance. I had seen her in a couple of mediocre commercial French movies such as 'Elle fume pas..' and I felt she was a natural, one of these rare actors that command respect the minute they appear, but I certainly never imagined that given the chance, she could have been one of the greatest celluloid tragedians of all times. You may think that I am a little harsh with my four stars out of a possible ten, but if not for Annie Girardot's performance, I would have gone much lower.
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