18 April 2004 | patrickoc
Curious movie from the last months of the Occupation
The plot of this film is curiously similar to that of "Two Faced Woman", Garbo's last Hollywood film in 1941. In "Je Suis Avec Toi", Yvonne Printemps plays a wife who suspects that her husband may be a philanderer. She sets out on a trans-Atlantic voyage (great scene of the "Ile de France" departing), only to double back and imitate another woman, with whom her husband falls in love, believing her to be his wife's double. There is an almost surreal scene at a fun fair, in which the two (Pierre Fresnay, Yvonne's real-life husband and stage partner) go on rides and swing-boats, while in the background we hear Yvonne's voice singing "Vertige d'un soir", one of the two theme-songs of the film. The other, better-known, song, "Mon reve s'acheve", is sung as the two go up to bed in the hotel, the husband still believing that his partner-for-the-evening is not his wife, but the mysterious "Irene". There are lavish sets, lots of extra players, a mannishly-dressed 'Aunt" who comes to the rescue to suggest a get-out clause for the situation once it's getting out of control. The feel is totally pre-war, without a whisper of the Occupation. It's funny, but worrying. Yvonne was approaching 50, and she looks and sounds great, but not as great as she would be six years later in "La Valse de Paris". Best scene is when she invites her admirer and a rival (Blier) both to dinner at the same time. As in "Two faced Woman", the husband finds out before she has the chance to turn the tables on him, but not before they have spent the night together. While thousands were being transported to the gas chambers, this was the escapism the French cinema came up with. The most extreme contrast must be with Fresnay's role in this and then in "Le Corbeau".