Friday, April 3, 2009

PARIS 36 (alias Faubourg 36) opens to, shall we say, divergent reviews....

So, which is it? "Perhaps not horrendous enough to bring down a proud national cinema all by itself, but it is so shameless in its pandering, sentimental vision of Frenchness as to constitute something of a national embarrassment." (This comes via A. O. Scott's review in today's New York Times.) Or, as Lou Lumenick's review would have it in today's New York Post: "A gleaming hunk of French period schmaltz expertly rendered by director Christophe Barratier"?

I have blathered on about the delights of this wonderful film twice already, so I will simply suggest that, if you are a fan of old-fashioned French cinema made new again via some very competent handiwork, then go see the film -- and on the big screen. It's lavish and sweet, sentimental but genuinely moving, and features one singularly amazing production number and several lovely songs. Plus, in the ingenue role, Nora Arnezeder -- shown above (and below with Pierre Richard: remember The Tall Blond Man With One Black Shoe?) -- lights up the screen in every scene she inhabits.

Here in NYC, the film is showing only at The Paris, but will go wider -- in the Tri-State area and nationally -- over the next week or two.

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