Jacques Tati lives on in this featherlight slapstick farce from duo Fiona Gordon and Dominic Abel.
Gordon is a Canadian-born Australian whose love of circus drew her to Abel, her husband and collaborator. This is their third feature and combines a simple story with some comical set pieces.
Fiona (Gordon) arrives in Paris after a call for help from her aunt Martha (Emmanuelle Riva), who she hasn’t seen for 40 years. Nerdy and naive, she is at a loss when she finds Martha is missing. Amiable, and for someone living on the streets relatively clean, homeless man Dom (Abel) meets her and quickly smitten, follows her. Mad antics and misunderstandings ensue.
Overall this is a mostly pleasant and unsurprising experience. Riva is particularly engaging and there are some lovely moments, such as her dance number with Norman (Pierre Richard) and her subterfuge when escaping Madame Gentil (Françoise Lauwerie). There are also some odd and icky moments: Don’s funeral rant; his stalking of Fiona ‘in the name of love’; his night with Martha. It seems like the old schtick – the guy makes all the choices and the women are grateful for the attention.
This is no Amelie; Fiona’s role is not to find love but to capitulate to it. I’m sure I’m not supposed to take this so seriously but it seems like a story out of its time.
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