Monday, February 4, 2008

Get Out Your Handkerchiefs

"Get Out Your Handkerchiefs" (Bertrand Blier, 1978) French comedy about a man in love with a woman who is acutely depressed. He doesn't understand women. He doesn't understand much of anything. All he knows is he wants to make it better so he'll feel okay.

Hilarity ensues.

Well, not so much. The hilarity is under the surface a bit, since the film only shallowly reflects real behavior for comic effect. Below the goofiness, though, is some truth. For instance, to prod her out of her zombie-like depression, Raoul (Gerard Depardieau) approaches a narcisistic academic (who loves Mozart--acts like they're best of friends--and his apartment is dominated by a collection of every Penguin Pocket Book ever published, alphabetized). "She's attracted to you! Sleep with her!" he says. And as she's attractive (and spends much of the film undressed) he does. But she's still subject to collapsing into a fugue state at the drop of a stitch (she's a constant knitter--and folks, that's a clue) Suffice it to say that these adults aren't nearly mature enough, but she does find happiness, fulfilment and a good jolt of "wake-me-up" in unexpected places. It's safe to say that this film is in the top five of Mary Kay Letourneau's favorite films.

As I do with foreign language films, I watch the English language version and turn on the captions to see if there's any major disconnects between translation and performance. Nothing too disparate here, But there was an odd side effect. The actor dubbing Gerard Depardieau's "Raoul" has a distinctive New York whine that sounds alarmingly like Jerry Seinfeld. Within ten minutes, I was seeing the film as just another "Seinfeld" episode, albeit one with a point besides how self-absorbed people can be.

No comments: