Les Enfants du Marais
Time Out saysThis 'gentle' yarn set in the Loire valley in the 1930s, follows an odd couple of odd-jobbers - Riton (Villeret) and Garris (Gamblin), muddling through life in relative poverty - and their friendships with various locals. Thus we meet middle-aged bachelor and dandy Amédée (Dussollier), who grins boyishly and introduces them to jazz on his gramophone; Tane (Boudet), who drives a train, so isn't around much; and bored self-made industrialist Pépé (Serrault), who finds his priggish family stultifying. Riton is an idler who waxes alcoholic on the marvels of his long-lost first wife, while his straight friend Garris secretly nurses a footloose spirit. The tone is lyrical and bittersweet - Garris develops a crush on a local girl (Carré) who heads elsewhere; Pépé rediscovers the rustic joys of his childhood - which is, perhaps, poignant, supposing you can rouse yourself to care a hoot. It's narrated by Riton's little daughter, who takes a shine to Pépé's grandson, and falls ill somewhere along the story; and, lest there seem a dearth of dramatic tension, there's an imprisoned ex-champion boxer (Cantona) who blames Riton for his misfortunes and swears revenge.