Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.
Original title: Nouvelle Chance
France, 2006. Mosca Films, Ciné B, France 2 Cinéma, Sédif Productions, Playtime, Haut et Court, Soficinéma 2, Centre National de la Cinématographie, Canal+, CinéCinéma. Screenplay by Julien Boivent, Anne Fontaine. Cinematography by Caroline Champetier. Produced by Philippe Carcassonne, Pascal Houzelot. Production Design by Pascale Consigny. Costume Design by Tess Hammami. Film Editing by Isabelle Dedieu. Toronto International Film Festival 2006.
Anne Fontaine follows two films centring on the adventures of Augustin Dos Santos (Jean-Chrétien Sibertin-Blanc) with a third delightful comedy. In this one, Augustin’s minor theatrical endeavours are thwarted when he is hired by a company to put on a quintessentially French performance for visiting Swedish businessmen. This is a problem considering he has nothing appropriate in his repertoire for the job, but his new found friendship with an octogenarian former vaudeville star (Danielle Darrieux), whom he meets after a performance at a retirement home, provides him with an opportunity: she puts him in the way of a nineteenth century memoir about a doomed love triangle that he decides will be a perfect fit. Casting Darrieux in the lead, Augustin manages to capture the attention of a popular television star (the ever adorable Arielle Dombasle) and convince her to take the opposite role, creating a whirlwind of minor comedy delights that occur when the project bends at the winds of actors’ egos. Just the right touch of everything in this Rohmer-esque comedy, ending with the most beautiful of melancholic tones, and featuring a spritely Darrieux, who at 90 is showing no signs of slowing down.