Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB.5
Original Title: Dans La Cour
France, 2014. Les Films Pelléas, France 2 Cinema, Delta Cinéma, Tovo Films, Canal+, Cine+, France Televisions, Soficinéma 9, Cinémage 7, La Banque Postale Image 6, Cinémage 5 Développement, Procirep, Angoa-Agicoa, MEDIA Programme of the European Union. Screenplay by Pierre Salvadori, David Léotard, collaboration with Benoit Graffin. Cinematography by Gilles Henry. Produced by Philippe Martin. Music by Gregoire Hetzel, Stephin Merritt. Production Design by Michel Barthelemy. Costume Design by Virginie Montel. Film Editing by Isabelle Devinck.
Gustave Kervern plays a musician who is unable to go on stage after falling in to a near-catatonic depression in the green room. Months later he is unemployed and in need of a job, so he responds to an ad for a janitor at a swanky Paris apartment building owned by married couple Féodor Atkine and Catherine Deneuve. In true, only-in-the-movies style, the employers rush through the interview and ignore the red flags because they need someone right away, installing Kervern in his apartment and putting him in charge of maintaining the grounds and keeping the more problematic residents from getting out of hand. Pretty soon, his quiet and understanding manner sees everyone in the building, and a few passersby handing out flyers, coming to him with their problems, none more so than Deneuve herself, whose nervousness about the architectural stability of the building begins to work against her mental equilibrium. Unremarkable but inoffensive, this charming slice of life is lifted above its mundane trappings by wonderful performances, Deneuve in particular can never help but light up a screen, and would be fine as a glimpse into its characters’ lives if it didn’t opt for an unnecessarily melodramatic ending after playing it so low key the rest of the time.