Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.
Original title: Preparez vos Mouchoirs
France/Belgium, 1978. Belga Films, C.A.P.A.C., Les Films Ariane, SODEP. Screenplay by Bertrand Blier. Cinematography by Jean Penzer. Produced by Paul Claudon, Georges Dancigers, Alexandre Mnouchkine. Music by Georges Delerue. Production Design by Eric Moulard. Costume Design by Michele Cerf. Film Editing by Claudine Merlin. Academy Awards 1978. Golden Globe Awards 1978. New York Film Critics Awards 1978.
Bertrand Blier once again examines the effect of male Peter Pan syndrome on frustrated female maturity in this toned-down version of his much more outrageous and, frankly, much more memorable Going Places. Gerard Depardieu is at his wit’s end dealing with his depressed wife (Carole Laure), who won’t smile or make love but wants to have a baby. Spotting an amiable man in the restaurant (Patrick Dewaere), Depardieu insists on him taking over as husband in the hopes of pleasing Laure, the three of them eventually shacking up and taking turns in her bed to no avail. When they spend a summer as counselors at a camp for teenagers, the guys become the best of buddies while her connection with a bullied thirteen year-old ends up being the liaison that finally gives her a reason to go on. For a movie with a menage a trois and a fair dollop of pedophilia, it is intelligently and tastefully rendered, rife with the spontaneity and joy that make their way through all of the director’s exuberant works. Blier is so much more enjoyable when he’s not trying so hard to be admired, though: feeling up a woman on the train who eventually likes it, gang-banging Isabelle Huppert or one man raping another because they’ve got a hotel room and nothing else to do in Going Places was terribly offensive but also incredibly hot. The joke in this one, that a woman is better off with an actual child and not two men who act like children, does land well, but it’s safe to say that the film, which won an Academy Award, hasn’t aged all that well.