Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB. France/Italy, 2004. Les Films A4, StudioCanal, France 2 Cinéma, Lumière, Eyescreen S.r.l., Canal+. Screenplay by Agnes Jaoui, Jean-Pierre Bacri. Cinematography by Stephane Fontaine. Produced by Jean-Philippe Andraca, Christian Bedar. Music by Philippe Rombi. Production Design by Olivier Jacquet. Costume Design by Jackie Budin. Film Editing by Francois Gedigier. Cannes Film Festival 2004.
Agnes Jaoui follows up her masterful The Taste Of Others with another superb character study. Her real-life husband and co-screenwriter Jean-Pierre Bacri plays a renowned novelist whose success on bookshelves is diametrically opposed with his ability to treat his young wife properly or appreciate his frumpy, miserable daughter Lolita (Marilou Berry). Lolita is studying singing lessons with a teacher (Jaoui) whose husband is a struggling writer whose breakout success puts them in company with Bacri, and from there the friction of egos, insecurities and doubts provides the kind of wonderfully intellectual struggles that the French cinema has been providing so well for decades. Taking place in candlelit cafes and country villas, it is the ultimate upper-middle-class delight, somewhat too long in its last third but sustained extremely well by its rock-solid cast and Jaoui’s marvelous direction.