Monday, October 20, 2008

15. Le Placard (The Closet) (Francis Veber, 2001)


Life’s not looking too good for bland Joe-everybody François Pignon, long-time employee of a condom factory. He’s been without his ex-wife for two years, and his teenage son won’t have anything to do with him. He’s teetering on the verge of suicide when he discovers that his company are making downsizes, and he’ll soon be made redundant. However, his kind old neighbour (Aumont) comes up with a plan that will possibly save Auteuil's job – for Auteuil to come out of the “closet” so that his sacking will seem like an act of homophobia, so keeping a hold of his job. As a result of their lie, further misunderstandings and confusions arise, chiefly involving the company’s alpha male (Depardieu) and Auteuil's boss Laroque, that lead the protagonist to learn things about the people around him, and find out about himself too.

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The cast are a total treat. Daniel Auteuil is great in the loser role that has been so well perfected by William H. Macy, transforming a character of, at the start, no interesting qualities, dull and foolishs into a spirited and amusing hero. Depardieu goes to town with his caricatured character, a homophobic, self-proclaimed macho man who fears/resents Auteuil initially after his claims of being gay. Michelle Laroque, from Ma Vie en Rose, makes an appropriately pretty love interest. The plot may be gossamer thin, but the cast give some of their best performances and deliver comedy gold to maintain a lively tone throughout.

There are those who immediately disregard foreign films for being too hard to understand, too prim, too stuffy. And indeed some of them are. But Le Placard is the complete antithesis of one of those type of movies; it refuses to take itself seriously, and has great fun in the process. There are countless laugh-out-loud moments (the process of fabricating the “gay” photos, all the interchanges between Auitiel and Depardieu, etc) in Le Placard, but my favourite of them all is probably the gay rights march, where Auitiel is sat on the top of an open top bus wearing a condom on his head. This amiable and amusing film is delightful as it plays around with themes of homophobia, political correctness and work politics, and whilst it never delves into the layers of these topics, it remains entertainingly satirical. Unassuming and witty, Le Placard is one of my favourite films to watch when I’m down, because it never fails in cheering me up.

18 comments:

anahita said...

the first sentence of this review was pure gold. And I will watch this :D

oooh it was so embarrassing today...I was doing speaking practice with our french assistant and she was asking me about cinema, and I was like, yeah one of the most famous french stars was georges depardieu. And she was like, you mean gerard? I just sank down in my chair and groaned...what a mistake!!! My brain was so not functioning!!!

lol sorry, that wasn't a very interesting story, but I'm trying to put off an immense french essay :P xxx

Emma said...

Aww it's not a boring story! And I totally sympathise; on more than five occasions have I made movie related faux pas. For my Spanish oral mock on Almodovar, I said something about how great Penelope Cruz was in Jamon Jamon. Almodovar didn't even bunging direct that movie! Fail.

Kayleigh said...

I need to have a movie night for myself, I am without a laptop (bloody thing crashed) so need to entertain myself the old fashioned way. Are you still interested in coming to see me Emma? If so, please text me with the number I gave you over LJ since I won't be able to read e-mails (this internet cafe computer is slloooooowwwwww...)

Emma said...

Drat my phone's all out of credit, so I hope you're able to read this, but yep, I'm still totally interested in coming over; the only reason I've not brought it up recently is 'cos I've been searching everywhere for cheap flights! As soon as I book one for under £30, I'll tell you asap! Can't wait! :)

Besty said...
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t.k said...

i love this film, thanks for bringing it into my life

Sara said...

I just adore Gerard Depardieu - very sexy! Looks like exactly my type of movie, thanks will get this for sure.

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