Saturday, March 11, 2006

Palais Royal

Rendez-Vous with French Cinema 2006 opened with Palais Royal! , the bright comedy written and directed by Valérie Lemercier, who plays the lead role as well. Speeded up with snappy editing by Luc Barnier, it's even cleverer than it looks at first, and exposes every trick of fictionalization ever used in a book, play or movie. The predicaments in which modern royalty finds itself could apply anywhere in Europe, but the requisite spliff jokes and certain other sly digs occur in England. The crisp pastel and gesso bedroom and kitchen décor is spot on, as is the stream of visual gags, large and small, from the triple strand of pearls worn with the first two strands entwined, to state visits in vaguely Germanic and Indic parts of the world played out in skewed tempo, to the compulsory visit from the sober-looking Nordic third cousins, a tiara dipped in spinach soup, and some pointed instruction in state dinner table manners that sends up all the upstairs-downstairs teacup ministrations served up in British costume dramas. Is this what would happen if Catherine Deneuve were Queen of England? The British release scheduled for April must be another big joke. In addition, this film has the silliest score (by Bertrand Burgalat) to come out of anywhere since Ennio Morricone made La Cage Aux Folles sing and dance.

Preview material and coronation mugs are available at:
Palais Royal! and through Gaumont
all photos from Gaumont

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