3 August 2013 | Rodrigo_Amaro
Brilliancy and annoyance all in one.
"Zazie dans le Metro" is the kind of movie that owes its relative positive outcomes more to its style than to its comedy of errors kind of humor. Having been made as an American film and this would be considered a disaster. Why? It would lose in style, technique, good cultural references and meaningful message. Don't be fooled, "Zazie" has a message in between scenes. Despite an apparent lovely child as the main character and the apparent comedic routine of the film, this is more inclined to be a grown up's picture than one suitable for children - they can watch but the easily impressible ones in the audience will keep asking their parents the meaning some of the words used by the girl, many of them cursing. So, if you want to insist on watching this with a kid be warned that you're going to be just like the adult characters of this explaining everything to the kid.
It tells the story of a 12 year-old country girl (Catherine Demongeot) who is left with her uncle (Philippe Noiret), a performer artist, while her mother is spending a lovely time with her boyfriend. She flees from the house with the intent of taking the subway, but that plan fails because they're on a strike, so the rest of the movie is her sort of understandable childish behavior against the fact, so she explores the city and creates a lot of confusion against anyone she sees.
Cartoonish, filled of speed-up images, running as if it were an imitation of a Bugs Bunny gag, "Zazie dans le Métro" would be an interesting film if it had some coherence rather than just creating images just for fun. An adventurous piece about a girl discovering herself and learning about what growing up means, ultimate message of the film, would be great. The clownish tone of it was distractive and flat. I was reminded of "Amèlie", since it shared a young female's magical and unusual vision around a big city, it's her small world colliding very beautifully with other persons, other realities, forming a reflexive image about society. Both are colorful and fast paced works, carried with visual style and splendorous editing tricks. "Amèlie" is better because it has somewhere to go while "Zazie" is pure slapstick, losing humor the more it progresses.
It's not a bad movie, but it's not so dignifying of having a terrific director like Louis Malle writing and directing it and let's face it, humor doesn't suit him. His greatest works are all dramas (see "Au Revoir Les Enfants" or "Damage"). It's a good picture, indeed, genius in its creative compositions, elaborated sequences (the breathless one in the Eiffel Tower takes the cake), paying an homage to the silent era but it's a real tough break to endure the annoying little brat, her mannerisms and language (not believable in the 1960's context) which isn't funny or humored because she's mistreating people who are good to her and undeserving of such treatment.
I liked what I saw even though I laughed only once or twice. Mr. Noiret was a class act and made this a very enjoyable film along with the great locations. And don't be fooled by the false advertising, she only spends ten seconds in the subway and doesn't even notice. 6/10