Folies Bergere…a film review by Roz Tarszisz

November 26, 2014 by Roz Tarszisz
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Judging by the recent spate of mature-age romances, coming of age stories are a trifle old hat. From writer and director Marc Fitoussi, this is a delightful coming of second age (or possibly third) tale.

Don’t be confused by the title. Bergere is French for shepherdess and has nothing to do with long-legged lovelies in feathered headdresses.

What it does have is a splendid Isabelle Huppert playing 50-something Brigitte. Her long-time marriage to Xavier (Jean-Pierre Darroussin) is in the doldrums. They live in regional France and are successful cattle breeders.

Brigitte seems a bit lost. When a much younger and attractive visitor to the property next door, Stan (Marmai Pio), shows interest in her she turns away. But he has lit a spark. Using the excuse of a doctor’s appointment, she takes off for the big smoke – Paris.

What follows is a simple adventure about stepping out from everyday life. Relaxed and invigorated by the change of scenery and pace, she enjoys wandering around the city. When she meets the urbane Jesper (Michael Nyqvist), they connect and spend a little time together.

Often movies set in Paris become an ode to the city but here most cinematic clichés are avoided, the action firmly set on the story. Beautifully shot and edited there are no wasted frames. At one point I thought Huppert may have been filmed through misted glass, but it was probably just my eyesight playing up.

Huppert, always a strong but subtle performer, is lovely and engaging and Nyquist is very appealing. Even a dour Darroussin proves capable of charm and action.

An illegal street trader, Apu (Lakshantha Abenayaki), brings a hint of a harsher reality and he provides a neat touch near the end.

A feel-good fable about choices, possibilities and change, this is escapism with heart.


Rated M 98 minutes French with English sub-titles

Starring Isabelle Huppert, Jean-Pierre Darroussin, Michael Nyqvist

Written and Directed by Marc Fitoussi

Advance previews from November 28 Opening December 11


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