6 September 2004 | writers_reign
All About Eve - From A to about F
These days it's rare to find Agnes Jaoui acting in a film that she hasn't written (with collaborator Jean-Pierre Bacri) herself and/or directed (Le Gout des Autres and this year's Comme un Image)so it's good to be reminded that she can take as well as give direction and read other people's lines convincingly. The story of a fan, Claire Rocher (Karin Viard) who eventually becomes a Personal Assistant to her idol, Elizabeth Becker (Agnes Jaoui)is almost certain to evoke echoes of Mank's 'All About Eve' yet whilst the central situation is the same (if we read 'screen' for 'stage') there are significant differences inasmuch as Ann Baxter's Eve Harrington was, to all intents and purposes a waif, who haunted the Stage Door waiting for a glimpse of her idol, Margo Channing, whilst Karen Viard comes complete with a job, TV journalist at which she is certainly competent and a circle of friends, to whom, in due course, Jaoui is introduced. The name Becker is, of course, distinguished in French cinema via Jacques (Casque d'Or) and his son Jean (Les Enfants du Marais)and it may well be that helmer Favrant (screenwriter on Bord de Mer)and writer Julie de Courval chose their name for Jaoui's character deliberately. Ultimately the film is about the changing balance of relationships and the show biz background - complete with appearances by well-known domestic actors Edouard Baer, Jose Garcia and Anna Mouglalis as themselves - is largely irrelevant. For some the novelty of seeing the naturally dark-haired Jaoui in a red wig and singing in sultry Spanish will be worth the price of admission alone, those demanding something a little more substantial may be disappointed.