Bertrand Blier

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Get Out Your Handkerchiefs Review

Gérard Depardieu's wife is miserable to the point where she no longer smiles; he figures his best shot at reviving her is to get her laid by another man -- in fact, the man sitting at the table behind him should do just fine. This is just the opening scene of Get Out Your Handkerchiefs, a French 1970s absurdity that looks at relationships and happiness in a farcical (and fully French) way. You may not recognize a young (and slim) Depardieu, but his performance here is the highlight of the film. It lags a bit toward the middle and gets plain old bizarre near the end, but it's a quite good and totally unique movie experience.

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Going Places (1974) Review

Talk about aimless: These two hooligans (Gérard Depardieu and Patrick Dewaere) wander across the whole of France, simply looking for trouble. Namely that includes stealing cars and bedding women (usually in a three-way), then running away from whatever trouble they find themselves in -- whether they end up with a gruesome suicide on their hands or nurse from a lactating woman's breast on a train. And oh, it's a comedy. Quite funny, with a strangely perverted sensibility you aren't likely to find in many other films.

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Un, Deux, Trois, Soleil Review

What's real in Un, deux, trois, soleil is the teeming multiracial housing project in the slums of Marseilles where Victorine (Anouk Grinberg) struggles through her childhood and early adulthood. What's not real in this feverish dreamscape of a film is just about everything else. The story seems to unwind -- and then tangle -- inside Victorine's troubled mind as she seeks the affection her parents can't provide in the back seats of the cars of teenage Moroccan gangs and in the arms of a petty thief.

And mon dieu, what parents she has! Victorine's mother (Myriam Boyer) is quite insane, and her father (Marcello Mastroianni) is a raging alcoholic who spends most of the movie hunched over a bar drinking pastis. They torment Victorine at every stage of her young life, and we see every stage, with Grinberg acting 12, 16, 20, or 25 as the scene demands. With just the change of an outfit and some altered body language, we get Victorine as a middle schooler in love with her daddy, as a married woman with several children (it's hard to tell how many), as a tough teenager looking for trouble, and as a preteen willing to give up her virginity to anyone who'll be nice to her. Linear chronology flies out the window, and you're never quite sure what you're seeing, especially when dead characters reappear to chat with Victorine or address the audience. It's a tour de force for Grinberg, although some of its power dissipates in the overall confusion of the storytelling.

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Mon Homme Review

Hooker befriends homeless man one night, and figures she'll take him home, bang him rotten, clean him up, and make him her pimp. Ah yes, only in France. The story only gets more surreal from there, with the pimp recruiting other women, sleeping around, and soon enough getting busted. Then two of said hookers get together and approach a kid in a coffee shop to sire their children. Blistering with relevance on modern life, no? Notable for its Barry White soundtrack.

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