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Review: Paris 36

A guilty pleasure of the vintage Parisian variety
By PEG ALOI  |  April 7, 2009
3.0 3.0 Stars


Trailer of Paris 36

Director Christophe Barratier (Les Choristes) co-wrote this nostalgic paean to 1930s Paris and the stage musical. In a Busby Berkeley–worthy story, middle-aged actor Pigoil (Gérard Jugnot) is dumped by his cheating wife, who takes their sweet son away. Heartbroken but hoping to be reunited with his boy, Pigoil carries on with trying to resurrect his struggling theater, the Faubourg. (The film's original French title is Faubourg 36.)

A perky chanteuse named Douce (delicious newcomer Nora Arnezeder) shows up, attracting audiences and a benefactor in loan shark Galapiat (Bernard-Pierre Donnadieu, the bad guy from the 1988 version of George Sluizer's The Vanishing). Douce is also courted by a Communist stagehand, and befriended by ingratiating comedian Jacky (the wonderful Kad Merad). The plot bubbles along, with effervescent song-and-dance numbers set amid stylized period sets, and thinly veiled Third Reich references.

Top-notch performances buoy up this sentimental (some might say clichéd) musical romp — and who doesn't enjoy a guilty pleasure of the vintage Parisian variety?

  Topics: Reviews , Nazi Party, George Sluizer, Busby Berkeley,  More more >
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