Smoker’s voice and gloomy gaze, Michel (Roschdy Zem) threatens an invisible interlocutor. A scene as we have seen dozens, almost a cinema cliché. What is being played out there, however, is theatre. Larger than life and for good reason, Michel, imprisoned for robbery, plays in a workshop run by Sylvie (Anouk Grinberg), an actress out of roles. When she announces to her son that she is going to marry Michel in prison, the wise Abel (Louis Garrel) becomes worried. He who has always brooded over his mother takes a dim view of this new stepfather, convinced that he will plunge again. While the lovers are renting a place in the city center to set up a flower shop, Abel takes Michel on a tail with the complicity of Clémence (Noémie Merlant), his best friend. From hideouts to tracing with a dog’s GPS, Abel ends up finding what he’s looking for: to finance the shop, Michel has agreed to steal a shipment of caviar. Out of love for his unsuspecting mother, Abel, spurred on by his whimsical friend, becomes the recidivist’s accomplice. After the crusadea film for young audiences on the commitment of children against global warming, Louis Garrel confirms his talent for wild comedy.
Strass, angora sweaters and French variety
Inspired by the life of his mother, actress and director Brigitte Sy, he signed with the novelist Tanguy Viel ( Article 353 of the Penal Code, the girl we call…) a precise scenario with brilliant dialogues, full of pitfalls and swerves. In a very 1980s atmosphere with rhinestones, angora sweaters and a soundtrack homage to French variety (Catherine Lara, Gérard Blanc, Herbert Léonard), the film navigates between thrillers, with real action scenes, and comedy. American romance. Julien Poupard’s image accentuates the contrasts between the bright colors and the dark night, between the candy pink shop from a film by Jacques Demy and the cottony mist that covers a field in the early morning. Within a very written framework and a precise staging, Louis Garrel offers his performers and partners spaces of freedom, playing on the mise-en-abîme, the blurred border between theater and life. It is for example the rehearsal scene of the robbery, orchestrated by Jean-Paul (Jean-Claude Pautot, former prisoner and adviser on the film), or the legendary argument between Abel and Clémence under the astonished eyes of the driver (Yanisse Kebbab) that they are responsible for entertaining. Behind the marivaudage and the nods to popular cinema ( When Harry Met Sally or old-fashioned robbery films), silent pain and true feelings emerge, enhanced by the strange poetry of the places: the aquarium where Abel works, the cemetery where the stolen goods must be exchanged.
Around Louis Garrel, the impeccably directed actors work wonders: Roschdy Zem, fragile colossus, Anouk Grinberg, all fired up, Noémie Merlant, funny petrolhead and wounded lover. A tender and generous film, striking proof that auteur cinema is not incompatible with entertainment.