Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.5.
Original title: Trois Places Pour Le 26
France, 1988. Renn Productions. Screenplay by Jacques Demy. Cinematography by Jean Penzer. Produced by Claude Berri. Music by Michel Legrand. Production Design by Bernard Evein. Costume Design by Rosalie Varda. Film Editing by Sabine Mamou.
Jacques Demy’s last film is a pleasant tribute to his favourite genre of musicals. Yves Montand plays a fictionalized version of himself returning to Marseilles to star in a stage musical about his life and career. A young woman who works in a perfumery (Mathilda May), recently shamed by the incarceration of her white-collar criminal father, has dreams of making it in show business and All About Eves her way into Montand’s show, having no idea that her mother (Françoise Fabian) was once his lover and is the woman he has been longing to reunite with after decades. More delicious secrets and tidbits are revealed in between lavishly produced musical numbers that have about as much stage realism as the spectacles that Busby Berkeley put on in Gold Diggers movies in the 1930s (the show better run for YEARS if it’s going to turn a profit). Some of the songs sag, but the overall effect of the film is spritely if not catchy, and it’s terrific to see that the great star at the centre of it all is truly deserving of the label, as he shows no sign of strain at 67 (three years before he passed away.