Michael shares his love of French cinema with us and presents the perfect film for a cold Sunday evening.
‘What’s wrong?’ ‘Nothing I. I had. I’d like to. I’d love to…’ ‘What what?’ ‘Unfinished sentences, they drive them wild.’
It’s Sunday afternoon and normally I would be typing up my latest attack on a Video Game, but instead I have been distracted by one of my all time favourite films on BBC iPlayer. It is often an unusual thing to say to people that you are a fan of foreign films. It generally results in rolling eyes or a fake smile and saying me too, even though you can tell that inside they are thinking ‘God no, I don’t want to have to read while I watch a film.’ My favourite foreign films are French comedies and farces and so I get back to the point; my favourite is on right now, Hors De Prix!
It is a late night in your crappy bar job in a fancy hotel. You are the only person left after the last customer got you a drink and gave you a cigar and you fell asleep. Later a beautiful woman (Irene) wakes you and mistakes you for an exceptionally rich guest at the hotel. A few drinks later and you are in an empty room doing what the French do best. Va va voom… It’s the start of a very strange and unconventional love story. When they meet a year later for another night of the same, everything goes a bit wrong. Irene’s partner notices she is gone and leaves her, taking his money with him.
It’s at this point that the audience learns that Irene is a gold digger and however much the loveable loser Jean tries he will never have the money to keep her. She fleeces him for every Euro in a day and proceeds to ditch him. But Jean has found a new ally in Irene who teaches him the art and trade of a gold digger. The film is 97 minutes of continual hilarity. Highlights include Jean trying to get bigger and better gifts on his first go at being a gold digger and Irene calling through her phone book looking for a new man.
The film is a feast for the eyes with beautiful restaurants, hotels and bars all over the south of France and Audrey Tautou steals every scene with her presence as the beautiful and multi-layered Irene. It can’t have been an easy task to make someone who is so cold and effectively just a bitch appear multi-faceted and fragile, while still funny and charming. If I didn’t know better I’d say that she was playing her as a socio-path who exists on the fringes of normal society but excels in a world of champagne and caviar.
I know that one of the hard sells with foreign films is that generally they are expensive and people are simply not interested in spending money on something that they have already decided that they will not like. Well today everyone’s luck is in. As I said at the start, the film is available to view and discover on BBC iPlayer until Sunday 23rd December.
Simply click here and enjoy.