Monday, October 21, 2013

New on Netflix Streaming, the don't miss -- for its costumes, cars & colors alone -- POPULAIRE

Seeing Régis Roinsard's magical POPULAIRE a second time (my original review is here) simply increased my appreciation for and enjoyment of what may be the most beautiful movie of the year, certainly so far as set design and art decoration are concerned. The Great Gatsby? Forget that piker. This is the movie to revel in visually. While perusing what was new to the foreign film catalog on Netflix streaming last night, up came this title -- which only recently appeared in theaters. Since my spouse hadn't yet seen it, we clicked immediately on "play" and settled in for this 111-minute delight. I swear: the movie looked better on our big-screen TV in high definition than it looked in theaters.

The amazing colors pop all over the place, and perusing the wonderful and various sets will make you appreciate how incredibly on-target were those who designed and accessorized here. For me, the absolute highlight of the film is a night club scene in which the band plays a song about secretaries, while their outfits in bright blue against the orange background, make for a riot of contrasting colors used as well as I've ever seen them. This may sound silly and way too specific, but for the manner in which M. Roinsard has designed his film, this particular scene hits the jackpot--& then some.

There are plenty of other memorable moments visually, but fortunately, they're not nearly all the movie has on offer. Watching its three leads -- Romain Duris (above, left), Déborah François (above, right) and Bérénice Bejo (below) -- at work and play proves even better the second time around. All three are simply wonderful in this tale of a young girl (François) who wants more than life in her quiet little town can provide and so goes to the larger town next door, is hired as a secretary, and, becasue of her rather extraordinary talent for fast typing, is soon entered into one contest after another by her boss (Duris), while getting piano-lesson coaching from his best friend/confidante (Bejo).

It's an odd tale, certainly -- who knew about typing contests? -- but one that allows the filmmaker to do just about everything he wants in the way of beauty, storytelling and entertainment. It's like taking a vacation back a half-century in time with a bunch of truly charming characters. I reviewed this one once already when it opened this year's Rendez-vous With French Cinema, but its sudden stream-ability and re-viewing makes me realize what a rare treat it truly is.

So, for those of you who can stream Netflix -- which now has some sort of exclusive contract with The Weinstein Company, who distributes the movie here in the States -- see it soon.

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