Cannes Diary 9 – Fairy Tales And Fluttering Curtains

Posted on June 6, 2017


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The screening of Nos Années Folles (Golden Years; French), by André Téchiné, started late, but the grumbling quietened when the reason was made known. The director and a few of his famous actors were making it to the theatre. What’s a half-hour when you’re seated three rows behind Juliette Binoche, Emmanuelle Béart and Catherine Deneuve? Before the film, a retrospective was shown, with clips from dramas like Wild Reeds, Being 17 and My Favourite Season. Could this reminder of genius be the reason the new film — the story of a World War I deserter named Paul (Pierre Deladonchamps) who disguises himself as a woman named Suzanne to avoid arrest — seemed underwhelming?

Just as cinema seems to have exhausted every narrative possibility with men in drag, we get a new dimension. One, Paul’s wife, Louise (Céline Sallette), is complicit in the deception. And two, Paul begins to enjoy life as Suzanne. He loves Louise to bits and can’t keep his hands off her. But when dressed as Suzanne, he seeks out men. For money. When Louise brings the subject up, he snaps, “I like what I do. Don’t judge me. Don’t call me a whore.” But the hetero-to-bi transition isn’t explained, and the result is bloodless. Superb performances, though, and the most amazing thing is that the film is based on a true story. Stranger than fiction, et cetera.

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Posted in: Cinema: Foreign