1 September 2017.
7 JOURS PAS PLUS (An Indian Tale) ***1/2 (vo French)
There are films that remain in your heart, like “The Shop Around the Corner”, “Bagdad Café” or “The Station Agent”. You recall them and an instant smile comes across your face.
This French tale, about an antisocial fellow who owns a hardware store, and an Indian refugee who sort of falls into his life, is one of them.
The great, versatile Belgian actor Benoit Poelvoorde (“The Brand New Testament”, “Coco before Chanel”) plays the reticent Frenchman who wants no one in his life, while the incredibly emotive Indian actor Pitobash portrays the poor Indian who speaks not a word of any language except his own dialect. There is also a delicate Alexandra Lamy as the woman who loves this difficult fellow, but isn’t getting anywhere with him.
Yes, there have been many such stories about opposite characters, or the opening-up of a man due to a chance encounter, so one could cry cliché or stereotyping, as some critics will. But this first film by the Chilean-French actor/screenwriter Hector Cabello Reyes (writer of “The Concert”) beautifully balances the tragedy, tenderness and humor of the situation, creating a wise and amusing work, in the manner of a vintage Ernst Lubitsch or Frank Capra film. In fact it is a loose remake of the 2011 Argentinean film, “El Chino”, dealing with the actual problem of refugees.
See it – you’ll be laughing despite the lump in your throat.
BONNE POMME **1/2 (vo French)
Just to have these two “monstres sacrées” – Gerard Depardieu and Catherine Deneuve – playing off each other is reason enough to run to this little tale of French folks in the boondocks.
His character has had enough of uncomfortable relationships in his town so he moves away to another one; she’s an old city charmer who has ended up in this backwater town running an inn that is quite haphazard, to put it mildly. And he walks into it one fine day.
The script is not always logical or consistent and the direction leaves much to be desired, but Deneuve and Depardieu are such delightful, iconoclastic troopers that they make the film hum along. And you’ll have a puzzled, satisfied smile on your face when you leave.
But then again, it depends on your taste.
PETIT PAYSAN *1/2 (Vo French)
This is the dull story of an unfortunate young “petit paysan” in France who is trying to save his cows. Nothing like the excellent “Rams” from Iceland, in which two opposing brothers were in a somewhat similar situation with their flock of sheep.
I knew I shouldn’t go to the screening, but I did, and wasted 2 good hours watching dying cows… No thank you, unless perhaps if you’re a farmer…
Superb **** Very Good *** Good ** Mediocre * Miserable – no stars
Neptune Ravar Ingwersen reviews film extensively for publications in Switzerland. She views 4 to 8 films a week and her aim is to sort the wheat from the chaff for readers.