Sunday, August 25, 2019

Blu-ray, DVD & Digital debut for Bertrand Blier's classic, GET OUT YOUR HANDKERCHIEFS

You might not think it possible, but even though GET OUT YOUR HANDKERCHIEFS (Préparez vos mouchoirs) won the Oscar back in 1979 for Best Foreign Language Film, this movie seems more timely-- shocking, even -- in today's crazy climate in which Me2, Trigger Warnings and an America President who prides himself on grabbing pussy all vie for our constant attention.

What goes on in this film will set so many minds on fire (of persuasions both far right and far left) that this new 40th anniversary restoration ought to have arrived with its own special warning label attached.

The writer/director of the film, Bertrand Blier, is by now an old hand at blowing up bourgeois values and exploring other possibilities (from Going Places and Buffet Froid to Ménage and How Much Do You Love Me?), yet what he achieves here goes up against our very dearest values about protecting minors from sexuality. And how Blier achieves what he does is so subversive, funny and full-out/dead-on that, well, there's no turning back.

The film begins in a nice restaurant, as the clientele dines, and one couple -- played by Gérard Depardieu (below, left) and Carole Laure (below, right) -- discuss their problems.

Or at least he does. She is mostly silent, as he becomes further and further convinced that she needs the attentions of another male. To that end, he accosts the single male diner (Patrick Dewaere, above, center) and slowly convinces this man (who is indeed attracted to the beautiful Ms Laure) to become "involved."

From here the movie goes places that you will expect and then takes a turn, and further and further turns, that you will not, ending up in a kind of pitch-perfect black comedy vein that works on a number of levels.

The two males here are so clueless about so much that Get Out Your Handkekrchiefs proves a wonderful, almost-faux comedy about the sort of male entitlement that becomes a kind of prison. TrustMovies suspects that M. Blier would be the last male filmmaker to pretend to understand the female mind, body and psyche. But damned if he is not utterly fascinated with these, and intent on exploring them just the same.

In Ms Laure, he found the perfect specimen to befuddle in extremis his male protagonists. The actress is quiet, centered and finally quite happy indeed. How a very young fellow played by Riton Liebman (below, with Ms Laure, and above, covered in rice pudding), figures into that happiness is a large part of the filmmaker's achievement. M. Liebman centers a couple of scenes in the film, the likes of which have not been managed before nor since.

Also involved and quite good indeed are Michael Serrault (below, left), playing a neighbor initially objecting to loud music played at 3am, and Eléonore Hirt (below, right), as young Liebman's easily swayed mother.

How this movie won (deservedly) Best Foreign Language Film way back in 1979 can mostly be attributed to the huge shake-up in Hollywood that the freedom-loving 70s provided. I cannot believe it could do the same today, in an era when Matt Damon can rightly suggest that perhaps touching and rape are not quite the same thing and then be pilloried for it.

In any case, thanks to the Cohen Media Group, you can discover (or rediscover) the film now, as Get Out Your Handkerchiefs, running 108 minutes, in French with English subtitles, hits Blu-ray (in a serviceable-but-nothing-special transfer, with a nice Bonus Feature introduction by Richard Pena), DVD and digital this coming Tuesday, August 27 -- for purchase and/or rental.

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