Tuesday, October 4, 2011
Rendez-vous With French Cinema at the FSLC, Philippe Le Guay's delicious and often surprising THE WOMEN ON THE 6TH FLOOR is yet another in the recent crop of excellent French crowd-pleasers (The Names of Love, The Hedgehog, My Afternoons With Margueritte) to open in the U.S.) In some ways, in fact, it's the best of them.
Jérôme Tonnerre) and director, M. Le Guay (shown at left) has set up and then executed his sweet tale with effortless assurance, which makes each turn of events appear to work quite believably and often beautifully.
Fabrice Luchini, most recently seen as the nasty husband in Potiche, and of late in The Girl from Monaco, Paris and Molière). M. Luchini takes this plum role and turns it into a journey of discovery that pulls us along with his chararcter, as he learns and grows.
Sandrine Kiberlain (of Mademoiselle Chambon and Après Vous) is wonderful, too. To watch her character as she tries to comes to terms, generally unsuccessfully, with growth and change is to witness a great actress at the height of her powers, able to do so much with such subtlety. She plays a sad, circumscribed woman so well that we feel for her, even as we find it difficult to abide her.
Natalia Verbeke (above), who may have the most difficult job -- turning her character from a cliché into a flesh-and-blood specimen with her own problems and life to live. Ms Verbeke comes through just fine. Among the other maids, the great Spanish actress, Carmen Maura, shines in a small supporting role.
Strand Releasing, The Women on the 6th Floor opens this Friday, October 7, at the Paris Theatre in New York City, and at four Laemmle Theater locations in the greater Los Angeles area -- followed by a national roll out.