9 March 2003 | Stark-MySideYourSide
"Valjean!" "The Unknown Soldier!"
A tremendously amusing film, where listing Gerard Depardieu as a star, knowingly a deterrent for some, is a misnomer. Possessing a small part in the film, Depardieu is almost unnoticeable as the story continues.
The film focuses on construction processes to "update" the city of Paris for a new industrial renaissance. The "villain", as it were, is the minister of public works, who "closes the Champs D'Elysee for blasting today", and proposed to build two skyscrapers on either side of Notre Dame. Played with a zeal for comedy is Charles Denner, and the hapless inspector Lalatte, trying so desperately to go on vacation, listing a series of disappearances (including 20 foreign tourists) as "escapades"-being young and in the city of Paris, an easy dismissal with an overbearing wife honking a car horn outside.
The symbolism in the film is tremendous-and by the end, you certainly wish for one or two things to have improved, but overall Rondin and Gaspard (the two lead roles) are played as dreamers, idealists in an era where such things are overlooked.
This film comes highly recommended.