12/12/07

Avenue Montaigne

This was a film I had promised to myself, based on the appealing trailers I saw in the theaters, but then I missed it and forgot about it. When I saw it on the Seattle Library DVD list, I jumped at the chance to finally see it.

This is a sweet little French pastry, a little flaky here and there, but tasty, just the same. It is written and directed by Daniele Thompson ("La Buche" and "Cousin, Cousine"), so in MY book, it comes highly recommended!

You follow a young women, newly arrived in Paris, heartsick, homeless and unemployed. She has an unfailingly upbeat kind of personality though, and makes the area around Avenue Montaigne her new "neighborhood," first finding a job in the local restaurant, then scrambling for a place to stay and inadvertently assuming a part in the lives of the people who work (and eat) in the vicinity.

This is a theatre district, so you meet a slap-dash TV soap star who is doing a Feydeau comic romp but wants to play Simone de Beauvoir in a movie directed by Sydney Pollack (whom she confuses with Martin Scorsese!). She has a real knack for getting herself into embarrassing situations.

You meet a piano player who was originally a child prodigy and is now a world-renowned classical pianist...but who has become weary after a lifetime of dressing up, traveling, abiding by contracts and commitments. His wife has been his business manager, so if he retires, she will be unemployed.

You meet a self-made billionaire, a widowed taxi driver who, along with his late wife, had amassed a business empire and made a second career out of collecting modern art. He is preparing to auction off a lifetime of treasures.

You meet a woman who always wanted to be a performer but had no talent, so she worked behind the scenes in theatre all her life; she has met all the "greats," but is preparing to retire.

This is a Show Business sort of a show, with rehearsals, line readings, set decorations, backstage paraphernalia, egos, costume problems, you know the drill....

I enjoyed every minute of it.