4 January 2007 | GrandeMarguerite
In Nomine pas triste
(Sorry for the lousy play on words in French as the title of this critic, but I couldn't think of anything better. This is my little homage to the humor of the film.) This movie, with its incredible title, marked Jean Yanne's directorial debut. Jean Yanne was an acclaimed comedian at the beginning of the 70s after his brilliant performances for Claude Chabrol in the diptych "Le boucher" ("The Butcher") and "Que la bête meure" ("The beast must die"). But Jean Yanne was also a TV and a radio man, and in 1971, he began to write with his radio mate Gérard Sire what would become "Tout le monde il est beau...". Jean Yanne's first movie is therefore a (ferocious) satire of a milieu he knew intimately: commercial radio. Don't get the movie wrong : although you may be offended by the numerous and very ironical allusions to (Christian) religion, the real target is the power of media and the excesses of the consumer-society. "Radio is based on hypocrisy", said Jean Yanne. "It only has one goal beneath all the eyewash: to unload deodorant, toothpaste or washing-powder." Yanne as the central character plays a dishonest and highly cynical journalist who turns a small radio station into a sort of "Radio Vatican" with the clear goal to make money and nothing but. He gathered as the supporting cast perhaps the finest cabaret comedians and cinema actors of the time, with Bernard Blier, Ginette Garcin (who sings two hilarious songs), Jacques François, Paul Préboist, Daniel Prévost, les Frères Ennemis... It is only a pity that Yanne couldn't obviously direct himself and let the other actors steal the show! (To have an idea of how good Yanne was as an actor, please check the films he did with Chabrol, Pialat and Godard). It is true that the movie has indeed aged a bit badly (ah, those references to the student revolt of '68, to Biafra and the Vietnam War! Ah, that psychedelic pop art!), but some scenes are still hilarious -- if you are receptive to that kind of humor, that is! If you are very religious, don't even try to watch this. The soundtrack has just been reissued on CD in France and it is a wonder. The music has aged very nicely and there are quite amazing and devastatingly funny numbers. To give you an idea, it is "Woodstock meets the Vatican", no kidding! Then you can treat yourself with Jean Yanne's voice and his very caustic lyrics. A highly recommended CD!