9 August 2014 | dbdumonteil
Tricks in a tailor's workroom
The populist cinema of the thirties/forties gets a Neo New Wave treatment!
The characters could come from "Hotel Du Nord": there's a sad tailor (Claude Melki),less-than -handsome ,and so shy he is not able to declare his love to a pretty girl (Chantal Goya ,before she became a pop singer for kiddies Under 7);a Hooker (Bernadette Lafont;who else?) who hides her immoral trade ,pretending she is a fortune-teller :nobody's fooled and all her clients are not interested in their future ;and her pimp ,an elegant fop à la Louis Jouvet (Jean-Pierre Marielle).Except for one sequence in a railway station,all the action takes place in the tailor's seedy apartment .
IMHO,it is not a very exciting work:Claude Melki is arguably the stand-out but Remo Forlani is not Henri Jeanson ,as far the dialog is concerned ,and his lines fall flat ;Bernadette Lafont,by far the best of the two actresses ,seems to wait for something to happen concerning her character;Marielle is not much more than a walk-on;Chantal Goya ,whose part was the most interesting, is a drippy starlet ,and she plays like she sings -she had started a career as a pop singer for teenagers while working with Godard ("Masculin-Feminin" in which her immortal " Si Tu Gagnes Au Flipper" is heard).
I almost fell asleep halfway through ,but there are interesting thespians in the supporting cast :the legendary Dalio,and Rufus ,too rare on the screens .
It is as if Forlani,towards the end of his screenplay ,suddenly appreciated how frivolous it all was and desperately attempted to get a little humor into his story:
-The client ,with whom Goya refused to "work" ,insulting the unfortunate tailor mistaken for her pimp :"you ought to be ashamed of your job!"
-Then the best lines in the whole movie: "Arlette is busy picking grapes. -Harvesting grapes? In April ? In Brittany?