Dir: Francois Ozon | Cast: Isabelle Huppert, Fabrice Luchini, Nadia Tereszkiewicz, Rebecca Marder, Dany Boon, Andre Dussollier, Jean-Christophe Bouvet, Edouard Sulpice | France, Drama 102′
Isabelle Huppert and Fabrice Lucchini star in this cheeky little chamber piece. Fast moving and frothing with fun and his signature mischievous humour Francois Ozon’s latest is a 1930s-set feminist whodunnit that pushes all the buttons on today’s #metoo polemic while recalling the absurdist boulevard style of its original stage play, adapted by his regular co-writer Philippe Piazzo and driven forward by a jaunty, noirish score.
In 1930s Paris, two young women have a field day getting their own back on men in the style of the famous ‘Papin sisters’. After her boyfriend leaves her for an heiress, pretty but talentless young actress Madeleine Verdier (Tereszkiewicz) finds herself implicated in the murder of a famous producer after a tussle on the casting couch, but is acquitted with the help of her lawyer friend Pauline (Marder), on the grounds of self-defence. A new life of fame and success begins, until the truth finally comes out.
Ozon litters his production with throwbacks to the era: Danielle Darrieux is playing in Billy Wilder’s Bad Seed at the local picture house. And there’s an inspired guillotine scene just for good measure. Huppert makes her grand entrance an hour into the production – as the veteran star of the silent screen (and erstwhile casting couch victim) Odette Chaumette – but gracefully without stealing the show from her fellow divas who make a picaresque comedy duo. Andre Dussollier and Dany Boon are also there to entertain. MT
NOW ON RELEASE IN FRANCE