Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Parlez-moi de la pluie

Let it be known that I came upon this movie by accident, and so far have not read any of its reviews. Thus, I'm very uneasy reviewing it, and even more uneasy formulating an opinion, so bear with me.
"Parlez-moi de la pluie" (English version: "Let it Rain") had the potential to begin, develop, and end like your average french romantic comedy, vis-a-vis "My Best Friend," or anything you had to sit through in French 101. Happily for us, many parts of this largely solid and well-made film were quite surprising. "Parlez-moi de la pluie" has the all-too-common element of being a movie-about-filmmaking: Karin, a hotel receptionist (Jamel Debouzze of "Amelie" fame), seeks to make a documentary involving Agathe Villanova, an infamous Feminist and academic. Karin, however, is no feminist, and what in the heck he's making the film for remains ambiguous (that, or simply lost in translation). Karin employs the help of filmmaker Michel Ronsard (one of the film's writers: Jean-Pierre Bacri), under whose guise a great web of events unfold. "Parlez-moi de la pluie"-- translation: Talk to me about the rain (the beginning of the statement "Parlez-moi de la pluie et de beau temps," which roughly translates to "Talk to me about the weather")-- thus has serious feminist undertones. This, for someone who previously thought of the French as largely sexist, was uplifting. Beware, feminism in France only goes so far, and by the end of the film, we are back at square one. Agathe is hardworking, ambitious, and remarkably intelligent-- a stark contrast to the passive and docile other French women. But that is also her downfall, as stress is placed on her seemingly perfect relationship. What does this say about womankind in France? Must she be passive to maintain happiness? The film implies nothing, and we find ourselves with a vast quantity of interesting themes without a creative outlet to explore them. Nonetheless, "Parlez-moi de la pluie" is slightly more intellectual than your average French comedy, and definitely worth a quiet afternoon at the cinema. Music-wise, it is interesting: an operatic background during seemingly random moments, thus making it slightly awkward artistically. And, like all French movies, and all art in general, it is about love. Love and mistakes, love and jealousy, love and an imbalance of affection-- it is all of the above, with a few chuckles in-between.

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