After the anguished psycho-drama of his previous feature The Officers' Ward (about disfigured WWI officers locked away in a provinical hospital), Dupeyron is in altogether more relaxed and cheerful groove here. Set in the early 1960s, this is an upbeat coming of age story about a Jewish kid from an unhappy home who is taken under the wing of a sagacious old Arab shopkeeper. The director opts for eye popping primary colours, throws in an abundance of Parisian stereotypes (notably, the kind-hearted, gaudily dressed tarts, all of whom seem to be on leave from Irma la Douce) and uses foot-tapping '60s pop music wherever he can. He's helped by a hammy but immensely charming performance from Sharif as the twinkle-eyed old-timer, and by a very likeable one from Boulanger as the Antoine Doinel-type teenager. Though the film makes a few points about religious and racial tolerance, it seldom falls into sermonising. (From a novel by Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt.
Cast and crew
|Screenwriter:||François Dupeyron, Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt|