Date(s) - 20/01/2017
7:30 pm - 11:30 pm
Ware Arts Centre
Doors open: 7.30pm
Booking: E-mail WareArtsFilm@gmail.com
Phone us on 01920 466212
Ware Arts Review
Populaire” is an affectionate French salute to Hollywood’s eye-popping, Technicolor romantic comedies of the 1950s. Is this remake really necessary? Maybe not, but to worry about that is to risk missing out on a lot of fun.
The film is all glossy colors, lightweight to the core, steering a dizzy plot through familiar turns toward a foregone conclusion. The joy is in the details – from the animated credits to the perky pop score to the pre-“Mad Man” hair, clothes and general sensibility.
The date is 1958, when becoming a secretary was a way of asserting independence for a bright young woman. Rose Pamphyle (Déborah François, with a Grace Kelly air), a 21-year-old tired of working at her father’s small-town store, heads for a larger city, where she joins a long line of ambitious women aching to be hired by handsome, well-dressed Louis, who runs an insurance office.
She’s klutzy but a fantastic typist (albeit with two fingers, on a manual machine). Louis, an ex-athlete, is intrigued by speed-typing competitions – an all-female activity in the world of this film – and sees her as a potential winner of a regional contest, and perhaps beyond. Maybe the world championship in New York?
A serious training regimen is in order, so Louis has Rose move into his fancy house. He’s a taskmaster who drives her to exhaustion – which, by the rules of the genre, means romance is in the air. The same rules also require obstacles. One is Louis’ continuing friendship with an old flame (“The Artist’s” Bérénice Bejo) who knows him better than he knows himself, and, in one of the film’s few serious notes, his memories of working in the Resistance.
The director Duris brings an edge to Louis that makes him an intriguing variation from similar characters in the originals. François is outstanding as the gamine, keeping just this side of parody. It’s a treat to see Bejo, and there’s nice supporting work from Shaun Benson in the classic “old buddy” role of the Bejo character’s American husband.
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