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C’est le bouquet!

Director: Jeanne Labrune

FRANCE| 2002. ENGLISH SUBTITLES. COLOUR. DTS STEREO. 99 MINUTES.


Writer-director Jeanne Labrune’s clever and delightful C’est le bouquet! traces the bizarre, coincidental and quotidian events which transpire after an early morning phone call. Emmanuel Kirsch (Richard Debuisne) inexplicably telephones Catherine (Sandrine Kiberlain) after fifteen years without contact, and subsequently she and her husband Raphaël (Jean-Pierre Darroussin) proceed to argue. Flustered by the argument, Raphaël seeks to assert some dominance at work, but instead he is fired. Shocked, he goes to a bar with Edith (Dominique Blanc), a fellow employee whose careerist strategies involve Immanuel Kant, Van Gogh and one-night stands. Kirsch, meanwhile, sends Catherine a bouquet of flowers as an apology for disturbing her morning. Catherine’s neighbours intercept the flowers and the story begins to spiral.
Mixing cause-and-effect scenarios with random events, Labrune uses chance to disrupt the logic of everyday life. As the plots and characters pile up, the film begins to fragment into a series of small vignettes. But these vignettes always remain integrated by some very smart dialogue which echoes from scene to scene. There are teasing lessons in geography, political correctness and corporate politics to be had amidst the amusing wordplay and comically absurd situations. Beautifully performed, this is a very French satirical comedy, redolent of Keaton and Tati, but also of Musset and Marivaux, and with a tragic undertone at the end supplied by Rossini, reminding us that roses do not last forever.

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