Let's Talk About the Rain

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With Agnès Jaoui’s acerbic and lightly melancholic third film as director after 2000’s ‘Le Goût des Autres’ and 2004’s ‘Comme une Image’ – the talented and socially astute French filmmaker resumes her fascination with surfaces. Her interest is not so much in architectural surfaces, but more the assumptions people make about race, class, age and gender from superficial impressions that, she argues, provoke irrational judgement of others.

Jaoui plays Agathe Villanova, a hard-nosed if insular feminist author looking to enter politics who returns to her childhood home in southern France to deal with her mother’s death. While in town, she is approached by two amateur filmmakers played by Jean-Pierre Bacri (Jaoui’s long-time writing partner) and Jamel Debbouze, who want to make a documentary on her. She accepts, but the subsequent period of self-analysis raises profound questions about her bourgeois upbringing, the ideological demands of her job (and how they impinge on her private life), and powers held by filmmakers who could ruin her.

While the genial comic tone and steady torrent of sharp one-liners and social faux pas are effortlessly carried forward from her past work, this is a more subtle, contemplative and mature film. She seems determined not to drape a conventional moral tale over these characters, instead offering a ragged (though engaging) narrative cross-cut at a specific juncture in their lives in order to examine the tiny emotional revelations that in turn create understanding and enrichment, and allow them to – partially – see beneath the surface.

Release details

Rated: 12A
Release date: Friday November 7 2008
Duration: 100 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Agnès Jaoui
Screenwriter: Jean-Pierre Bacri, Agnès Jaoui
Cast: Agnès Jaoui
Jean-Pierre Bacri
Jamel Debbouze

Average User Rating

5 / 5

Rating Breakdown

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LiveReviews|4
1 person listening
Anne

This is an intelligent and subtle film. It starts slowly but then you find you are immersed in this complex layered Provence world which you never glimpse as a casual visitor. No grand statements just wonderful characterisation and some laugh out loud moments. The camera work is brilliant. I loved it.

Anne

This is an intelligent and subtle film. It starts slowly but then you find you are immersed in this complex layered Provence world which you never glimpse as a casual visitor. No grand statements just wonderful characterisation and some laugh out loud moments. The camera work is brilliant. I loved it.