15 August 2002 | raymond-15
An irresistibly funny comedy
The film starts with a bawdy song unmistakably naughty and then follows ever so much suggestive but clever dialogue. There is wicked and mischievous goings-on in and around a beautiful home on the road between Paris and Avignon. This is where Denis Diderot (Vincent Perez) is compiling and printing his banned multi-volume encyclopaedia. My goodness! I had no idea that a 17th Century philosopher could have so much fun putting into print some of his thoughts and experiences. "If it's natural" he says "It must be good for you". He not only says it, but practises it, and no woman seems safe from his ardent approaches.
Amongst all the farcical nonsense, there is some heavy satire on the church's attitude to sex. exotic foods such as chocolate and caviare, musical scores (the pig organ is a delight) and banned literature. Vincent Perez as Diderot plays the character superbly wearing a delightful smile though not much else when he poses for his portrait by the beautiful Madame Therbouche, a so-called painter from Berlin though actually a spy arranged by the Cardinal. Her mission is to locate the clandestine printing presses.
There is plenty of action in the film (and never a dull moment) as Diderot prances naked around the surrounding gardens much to the disgust of the Cardinal. Much of the action is around the Cardinal who must be prevented from finding the printing presses. This is easily arranged by recruiting as many ladies as possible to seek confession of their sins before the Cardinal. Besides attending to his clerical duties, he seems not uninterested in their wickedness.
Finally Diderot falls in love with Madame Therbouche as he seeks her assistance in the preparation of Volume X111. She agrees of course and why not? The last volume is to be all about sensuality, a subject in which both of them are so well versed.
An absolute delight!