Created on Wednesday, 21 October 2009 11:55
Written by Elaine
"Paris 36", directed by Christophe Barratier (Les Choristes), is set in the chaotic year of 1936 when the left-wing Popular Front government of Léon Blum came to power. The story revolves around three Parisians desperately; trying to keep their beloved Chansonia theatre alive, each for their own reasons.
The movie begins at the end of 1935 with the demise of the manager of the Chansonia threatre which changes the lives of Pigoil (Gérard Jugnot). Pigoil loses everything: backstage job at the Chansonia theatre, his cheating starlet of a wife and his accordion genius of a son, Jojo.
In a desperate bid to get his son back, he rallied charming communist Milou (Clovis Cornillac) and inept impressionist Jacky Jacquet (Kad Merad) to save Chansonia theatre and in turn, their jobs.
Hope comes in the form of pretty Douce (Nora Arnezeder), an inexperienced singer with a sweet voice, who was ironically introduced by the local pin-striped gangster Galapiat (Bernard-Pierre Donnadieu), villain of the set. As in all love stories, she eventually falls for young Milou and causes the wrath of Galapiat.
The historic reality of the sentimental struggle between socialism and facism, the romantic French sensibilities of the chaotic time, realistically conflicting relationships of the three friends and the inspirational story of a man realising his dream of reviving theatre for the working class accompanied by delightfully nostalgic songs by Reinhardt Wanger and Frank Thomas… It is a love story, a family drama, a buddy flick and a musical and perhaps it is also why it skims only the surface of each aspect of the film. For us, the melodrama of the charming movie brings both smiles and tears but is not impressive enough to be remembered once it's over.
Related links: Paris 36 official site