Marius et Jeannette
Time Out saysSet in l'Estaque, an impoverished, industrialised area of Marseilles, this funny, tender, enchanting film starts as if it's going to be a familiar misfits-meeting-cute romance. Soon after her feisty temper costs her her supermarket job, single mother Jeannette (Ascaride, the writer/director's wife) embarks on a relationship with the equally wacky Marius (Meylan), a taciturn security guard at a disused cement works. He's accepted by her kids and friends, but when he disappears for a few days, Jeannette suspects his no-show is simply another example of male unreliability, and it's left to her neighbours to investigate. In fact, while the faltering central romance gives the film a semblance of narrative structure, Guédiguian's prime concern is how community and friendship make economic and emotional hardship bearable. That Marius is called 'Marius' is probably no accident, since the celebratory account of working class life in all its variety recalls Pagnol's classic Marseilles trilogy, albeit without the overheated theatricality and pathos. Less love story than love letter to a particular, Mediterranean way of life, this is peopled with credible individuals as proud, perverse and needy as they are brave, tolerant and likeable.