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Paris 36

  • Film
  • 3 out of 5 stars

Time Out says

3 out of 5 stars
This colourful, undemanding musical melodrama is the second hit from the director of 2004’s domestic blockbuster ‘Les Choristes’. Retaining pug-nosed fiftysomething star Gérard Jugnot,  Barratier pushes back his era of interest from the post-war period to France’s last pre-war election year, 1936, when Leon Blum’s popular appointment as PM ushered in a brief ‘window of hope’.

With loose affinities with Truffaut’s trite ‘The Last Metro’ and sporting inoffensive travesties of Renoir’s proletarian improvisations, ‘Paris 36’ is picaresquely set among a sprawling theatrical community, unemployed since a local gangster (Bernard-Pierre Donnadieu) closed their ‘Chansonia’ music hall. The movie follows their efforts, led by salt-of-the-earth Jugnot,  firebrand Clovis Cornillac and gadfly Kad Merad,  to occupy their old premises and – you guessed it – put on a show!

‘Paris 36’ employs performances on the sympathetic side of comic caricature which, while disallowing any sense of depth, steers the film nimbly between the twin rocks of overt sentimentality and pompousness. It looks a treat, with Eastwood’s cinematographer Tom Stern shooting fluidly in ’Scope  with an alternating colour palette of cobblestone grey and boudoir rouge, and luxuriates in evidently painstaking costume and set design. The cherry on the cake is newcomer Nora Arnezeder as Douce,  the provincial ingénue with the yellow bangs and the golden voice. The questions remain: will she escape the cynical clutches of  Donnadieu’s ‘Galapiat the Beloved’? Fall for handsome communist loverboy Cornillac? Or become the toast of the  war-threatened town?
Written by Wally Hammond

Release Details

  • Rated:12
  • Release date:Monday 26 January 2009
  • Duration:120 mins

Cast and crew

  • Director:Christophe Barratier
  • Cast:
    • Gerard Jognot
    • Nora Amazeder
    • Clovis Cornillac
    • Kad Merad
    • Maxence Perrin
    • Bernard-Pierre Donnadieu
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