(12) 110min (Artificial Eye DVD retail/rental)
Forget all the ‘merde’ that Gérard Depardieu’s done in recent years — his performance in this exquisite film makes up for everything. He plays Alain Moreau, a middle-aged, overweight crooner who never made it big, but makes a pretty good living singing corny love songs in dance halls frequented by adoring divorcees on the pull. Then he meets the young, beautiful and guarded Marion (Cecile De France, sporting the prettiest shoulders in Europe). Her fragile life is in limbo as she tries to get over a traumatic break-up, and what follows is a painful journey for them both. It’s all terribly French: there’s a lot of smoking, Alain has an ambiguous relationship with his ex-wife, people talk dispassionately about passion, Marion has Jean Seberg hair and a beguiling gap between her front teeth, and director Xavier Giannoli spins cinematic gold out of romantic cheese. This is a faultless work that simply takes your breath away. Extras include an interview with the director.