Blier‘s latest offering Trop Belle Pour Toi (Too Beautiful For You ) was France‘s biggest movie hit last year. and offers a characteristic twist on the old eternal threesome scenario. Gerard Depardieu plays a successful owner ofa Marseilles BMW showroom. and his quite stunning wife Carole Bouquet is envied by all his friends and associates. Mais. sacre bleul. to the strains of lusth overpowering Schubert. he falls mysteriously. headfirst in love with his dumpy secretary Josiane Balasko. discovering a sensitive and sensual woman beneath her drab anorak-clad exterior.
Proceeding from an initial desire to cast Depardicu and noted French comedienne Balasko as a couple. and also to capitalise on the under-utilised talents ofCarol Bouquet. Blier. surprisingly frankly. admits the screenplay"s genesis in his own experience. 'Once or twice in my life.‘ he recalls. ‘I have experienced an inexplicable attraction to a woman in the way that Depardicu does in the film. In the beginning one believes the screenplay is created subconsciously. but when it‘s finished its really me that I‘m writing about. That‘s a reply of great honesty.’
A powerful. strange kind of
honesty indeed runs right through 'I'rop Belle Pour Toi. a film of commendable openness about the needs of the senses and men‘s facility for emotional expression. Yet the film's true achievement is in the way it turns the familiar stuffoffarce and soap opera into an intense hybrid of wistful comedy. romantic passion. and absurdist narrative artifice. It‘s a blend that‘s self-consciously. perhaps deliriously. a piece of cmema.
Blier nods in agreement. ‘More and more.‘ he concurs. 'I think that films have become very reflective of other films and not so much of life. Today's audience has returned to the fictional games ofcinema knowing fine well that they don‘t relate to reality. The cinema today is truly in the process ofbecoming an adult art like. say. painting. where you don't have to understand it. you merely look at it. I‘ve a feeling that we're dismantling the romantic structures inherited from literature to move towards something that‘s recognisanycinematic. The first real etnema.’
Edging along this path. Blier has worked through a similar terrain to the Luis Bunuel‘s of The Discreet Charm of The Bourgeoisie or The Phahtom of Liberty. an erosion of cinema that delights in upsetting the applecarts 0f the status quo. Just as
'I‘rop Belle Pour 'l‘ot' tellineg inverts our notions of beauty and feminine identity. his 1978 Oscar winner Preparez Vos Mouchoirs offended sober sensibilities as its housewife heroine took a schoolboy lover. and the sight of police inspector Bernard Blier (the director‘s father) dispensing summary justice with a shotgun in 1980’s masterly Buffet Froid raised just as many hackles as that of Depardieu whooping it up in a dress in Tenue (1e Soiree ( 1986). Far from a moral anarchist however. he sees himself more as a satirical observer ofchanging values. ‘lt‘s very difficult today to conclude films.‘ he reflects. the glowing pipe ofhalfan hour ago extinguished. ‘because there‘s no longer the moral order in society that had to be respected. The wrongdoers were punished. and the man returned to his wife. Today. you can‘t just kill them off or put them in prison. You really need delicate endings. 'l‘he finale of Fatal Attraction. on the other hand. was absolutely scandalous. It may have been amusing to watch but it only exists because of that peculiar American sense of reality. an extraordinary puritanism. ()ne couldn‘t make a film like that in France.‘ Trop Belle Pour Tot (18) is at the Edinburgh Filmhousefrom Sun II to Sat 1 7 March
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I THE KILL-OFF (18) First-time director Maggie Greenwald‘s love lorthe brutal and perverse world of pulp tiction supremo Jim Thompson linds screen torm in this downbeat tale oi drugs. sex and telephone scandal. See feature. Edinburgh Filmhouse Fri 21 to Mon 24 March. I LET'S GET LOST (15)Top lashion photographer Bruce Weber conlirmsthe promise of his earlier boxing picture Broken Noses with this allecting monochrome portrait ol lyrical trumpeter and celebrated jazz victim, Chet Baker. See review. Edinburgh Filmhouse Fri 16 to Sun 18 March. I RENEGADES (15) Rootin' cop Keiler Sutherland and tootin' Indian Lou Diamond Philips resume their Young Guns screen partnership in this action adventure under the slick direction of Jack (The Hidden) Sholder. See review. Glasgow Cannon Sauchiehall Street, Edinburgh Cameo, UCls from Fri 9 March. I STEEL MAGNOLIAS (PG) Shirley MacLaine, Dolly Parton, Sally Field, and Darryl Hannah are among the topnotch lemale cast as writer Robert Harling's testimony to the courageous womentolk of his hometown makesthe transition from stage to screen. See leature. Wide Odeon release. also Cannon Parkhead. Grosvenor. UCIs trom Fri 9 March.
4144-6 I TBOP BELLE POUR T0 (18) Masterly cinematic concoction by French iconoclast Bertrand Blier has Gerard Depardieu overlooking the charms ol stunning wile Carole Bouquet in favour at true love with plain secretary Josianne Balasko, accompanied by an overpowering score by one Franz Schubert. See feature. Edinburgh Filmhouse Sun 11 to Sat17 March.
I YAABA (PG) From the Airican state olBurkina Faso comes this winning effort by Idrissa Ouedraogo that depicts a young boy's developing relationship with an old woman who's been ostracized by the rest oithe community. Edinburgh Filmhouse Fri 9 to Sun 11 March.
The List 9 — 22 March 199017