Paris 36

"Faubourg 36" has all the elements I love in French films: it is a delight to the eye, good for the heart and has enough charm and romance to satisfy the sap in all of us!

I can never resist a movie about show business and that's what this one is all about. We are introduced to a small run-down theatre in 1936 Faubourg, an *arrondissement in Paris, where one of the stage crew, played by GĂ©rard Jugnot ("Les Choristes"), is understandably worried about his wife, who, as it turns out, is a faithless floozy. She takes off with one of the other performers and he continues to raise their son, not very well, truth be told, because her abandonment has broken his heart. But their little boy, played by Maxense Perrin (the DARLING little boy in "Les Choristes"), is managing to keep things together, e.g., he plays an accordion while a chum sings for coins on the street, then asks the butcher to lie about how his bill gets paid.

Of course, we become acquainted with a community full of characters:
  • A would-be performer, played by Clovis Cornillac, who specializes in perfectly dreadful impressions (and ugly jackets)
  • A hot-headed (but handsome) Communist organizer, trying to unionize the local laundry workers
  • "Radio Man," played by one of my favorite actors, Pierre Richard ("La Chevre" and "Les Comperes"), who has suffered from agoraphobia for the past 20 years
  • A hopeful young singer, played by Nora Arnezeder, who desperately wants a job in the theater
  • Various merchants who populate that little urban enclave
  • Performers auditioning for a job, some more talented than others
  • A selfish wealthy man who owns the theater.
There is plenty of humor and humanity, with just enough pathos...you know...a French film...

*arrondissement - administrative district in large French city...