Paris 36 (2008) Poster


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A wonderful movie
richard-178715 May 2009
This is not a great film, a masterpiece of cinema-as-art. It is, however, a wonderful movie that will delight you while you watch it and leave you with many happy musical memories after it has finished.

Though the director and star are the same, this movie does not resemble Les Choristes. It is, instead, an homage to French popular music of the 1930s (and 1940s). If you don't know that music and the stars who made it famous, you'll miss the many references. The movie will still be enjoyable, but it won't evoke the memories (and pleasures) that it would to French viewers over 60.

The music, most of it original, nevertheless comes very close to pastiche of popular numbers from that era. (One repeated number is very close to Messager's "Clou clou," which I think is from his Véronique.) The performances and characters also allude to stars of the past, though not necessarily in a one-on-one way. There is the music hall singer Tony Rossignol, whose light lyric tenor recalls Tino Rossi, though his Spanish get-up and music recalls Luis Mariano. Kad Merad's character starts out doing terrible impressions, of animals and Fernandel. He finally has a hit when he starts singing like Charles Trenet. Even though the music is pastiche, it is sometimes very catchy, and very much caught me up.

One of the previous reviewers said that Clovis Cornilliac was made up as Jean Gabin but couldn't reproduce the latter's charisma. I hope he was not meant to recall Gabin, because he certainly doesn't. He's pleasant in his role, as is the female lead, but the star is definitely Gerard Jugniot, who gives yet another first-rate performance.

This won't make the viewing list for any course on French cinema, nor should it. But you'll definitely enjoy it.

P.S. I watched this movie again, about a year after my first viewing of it. While I still found it enjoyable, I realize, in rereading my review, that it was the last part, with all the music, that made the strong impression on me. One of the reviews written since my first one notes that the movie might have been more memorable if there had been more music spread throughout it, and I agree. The show the company originally stages is bad vaudeville, and bad vaudeville numbers have only limited appeal. The subplot concerning Galapiat and the French fascists is somehow disconnected from the rest. Having subsequently seen that same actor, Bernard-Pierre Donnadieu, in L'affaire Salengro, where he played someone on the other side of that fight, I realize how much better the issue could have been presented.

The film is definitely worth watching, and should please most viewers. Gérard Jugnot gives yet another very fine, very moving performance. I don't know how well it will repay repeated viewings, however. I don't know if I would want to watch it myself a third time.
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Lovely French movie, tailor-made for fans of foreign films
inkblot1127 May 2009
Pigoil (Gerard Jugnot) runs a small vaudeville like theater, the Chansonia, in the Faubourg section of Paris. His wife is a "star" of the theater and the rest of the performers are a tight-knit group. Perhaps, too close, for Pigoil is given a double whammy one day. First, his wife has been sleeping with not one, but, two of the other troupe members and, even more sadly, the owner of the building can not pay his debts (it is the depression everywhere) and commits suicide. Soon, Pigoil and his young, idolized son Jojo are barely scraping by. But, then, Pigoil makes a deal with the Fascist like gentleman who truly runs the neighborhood. Can his show group have one month to make the theater profitable again? The ruthless man agrees to give them a chance, for he has his eye on one of their newest performers, a beautiful young singer named Douce. Will the Chansonia become successful once more? This is an unusual look at life in the depression, for it has a French setting, where fascism was brewing in neighboring Germany and in France. There are many subplots to the main one, including one of an agoraphobic music teacher, residing across from the Chansonia, who was once a leading song writer and who has an unlikely connection to Douce. Needless to say, the recreation of the former theater district is very fine, as are the costumes, the cast, the story, and the direction. Therefore, if you like foreign films and unusual tales, put this on your list for future viewing. It is a fine example of quality French cinematic achievements.
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Seems Someone Set Out to Make ONE Movie...and Ended Up Making a Totally DIFFERENT One!
KissEnglishPasto24 October 2013
............................................................from Pasto,Colombia...Via: L.A. CA., CALI, COLOMBIA and ORLANDO, FL

Go to the Search-Window and enter the title: "Paris 36" and what do you get?...VOILA! "Faubourg 36"! Therein lies the problem: Apparently, someone set out to make ONE movie...and ended up making a completely DIFFERENT one! This bizarre Paris/Faubourg dichotomy plagues the movie throughout, but particularly during the last half!

Paris did, however, get off to a relatively good start...Showing a lot of promise, in a number of different areas: The interaction between lead characters seemed brisk and focused; the sets had a very authentic mid-30's Paris look and feel; Music that had just the right mix of melancholy, nostalgia and pre-war glibness and sung with just the right inflection and ring; plus, different engaging back stories.

...But it all starts sputtering about half way through. Paris spins out of control and becomes a total mess. Absolutely nothing works! I can't imagine what was going though Writer/Director Christophe Barratier's mind, as he pressed on with this project! As "Paris" progresses, the characters' actions became constantly more erratic, unpredictable and demonstrate a continually escalating degree of incongruity with the personality and motives of each character. Protagonists capriciously waltzed in and out of the movie, with little or no explanation or raison d'etre.

Because of this, the last half of "Paris" takes on a deus ex machina tainted storyline much more akin to a fairy tale or the romantic daydreams of a 13 year-old Parisian girl. Maybe Paris would have been much easier to follow in the original French. The sub-titles are shamelessly below par. Only about 50% of the dialog actually appears on screen! Thusly, you end up missing HALF of the film! First Half = 8*, Last Half = 2*...OVERALL: 5*....ENJOY/DISFRUTELA?!?!?

Any comments, questions or observations, in English or Español, are most welcome!
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Nice film with beautiful new actress
Gregphilip29 September 2008
Nora Arnezeder reminds me of movie stars of the thirties : beautiful, charming, she can sing, dance, act... Star quality ! As for the film itself, the story is rather simple, which I come to realize, is often what makes it good. It's not so much what the story is about but rather how you tell it. And in that case, you get to laugh, cry, you care about that Pigoil who looses his job, his wife and even his son and who doesn't loose hope, about Milou and Douce's love story. You'll love the great new songs, the homage to Busby Berkeley, Jacky's lousy jokes (a reprise of Kad's own TV skit) and secondary characters played by first-rate comedians like François Morel and the great Pierre Richard. What's not to like ?
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A great fantasy tribute to Paris in the 1930s
moore277229 April 2009
I loved it! Boz Luhrmann meets Cinema Paradiso in numerous ways. The plot is simple, as others here have already described. But it retains an abundance of charm. The undercurrents of antisemitism and fascism that were persistent in 1936 France are themes rarely seen on screen. Ditto for the Communist workers' movement during the same time. The clashes between these two groups were inevitable, and this film depicts that struggle brilliantly, without preaching to us or hitting us over the head with it. All the acting, singing and dancing are extremely well-done, and the cinematography, while Luhrmann-esquire is engaging. Best of all perhaps is the music. This film is destined to be a classic, and will always be on my favorites list. The only thing I would change is that I would retain the original title. The audience for this film is sophisticated enough to handle it.
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Glittering period crowd-pleaser
Chris Knipp19 March 2009
Christophe Barratier found box office success in France in 2004 with his cute feel-good story The Chorus/Les choristes, which was about how a new music teacher brought humanity to a rural French reform school just after WWII by starting a boys' chorus. This also made newcomer Jean-Baptiste Maunier into a French teen icon. Faaubourg 36 is a glitzier, more musical (as in song-and-dance), more nostalgic period drama meant to evoke French films of the Thirties through its focus on a little working class Paris music hall called Chansonia. As the film opens, financial problems lead a mean magnate called Galapiat (Bernard-Pierre Donnadieu) to shut Chansonia down. But it's 1936, and in the spirit of socialist fervor (and universal labor-management strife) signaled by the rise of Leon Blum's Popular Front, the employees decide to take over Chansonia and run it themselves, on no money. This effort is spearheaded by the stage manager Germain Pigoil (Gerard Jugnot). Pigoil's life has filled with heartbreak. His dancer wife Viviane (Elisabeth Vitali) has left him and the state has chosen to take away his beloved accordionist son Jojo (Maxence Perrin) and send him to live with Viviane.

Trying to create triumph out of adversity, Pigoil designates an awkward song-and-dance guy called Jacky Jacquet (Kad Merad) and a militant (and Jewish) leftist called Emile "Milou" Leibovich (Clovis Cornillac) to reopen the shuttered musical theater in uneasy cooperation with Galapiat. The show must go on! This seems a feeble prospect without financial backing, till the three men get lucky when a young newcomer nicknamed Douce (Nora Arnezedzer) turns up at tryouts. She's talented, pretty, and clearly a crowd-pleaser capable of selling tickets and keeping the place going. Her presence provides further insurance when the local boss turns out to like her.

The ups and downs of the plot include depiction of the pervasive anti-Semitism of the extreme Right and the exacerbated hostilities between labor and ownership. There are little tragedies, but everything is softened and ends happily. Seekers of cinematic edge should look elsewhere. I found it hard to engage with the story, because it's too derivative, stereotypical, and diffuse. Production values are excellent and the music hall performances, if sometimes borderline cringe-worthy, carry through the period flavor. And there are some catchy tunes and sprightly stage turns as well.

I saw this film when it was screened last summer at Saul Zaentz Studios in Berkeley by Tom Luddy, Co-Director of the Telluride Film Festival and the consensus of those then present seemed to be that 'Paris 36' (which has been picked up by Sony Pictures Classics) wasn't interesting or unusual enough to show at Telluride.

But 'Paris 36' seems likely to do well with the more general US subtitles-film audience, and makes perfect sense as the "gala opening film" for the FSLC-UniFrance co-sponsored Rendez-Vous with French Cinema--though in my opinion last year's first night presentation, Claude Lelouch's 'Roman de Gare,' made a much more interesting opener.
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Lovely Film
daphne424225 December 2008
Warning: Spoilers
This is a beautiful film which captures much of the feel of great French films of the 1930's. It's also a love poem to Paris. It helps that Nora Arnzeder is so gorgeous and all the actors give strong performances. The story is really a fairy story with a political twist. A small music hall in Paris is forced to close down in 1936. Because this is is the year of the Popular front in France, when factory occupations spread across the country, the performers decide to take over the theatre and run it themselves. They get an extraordinary stroke of luck when a young girl, Douce, turns up hoping to get a break in the theatre. Double luck because not only is she a brilliant performer but the local boss fancies her and allows the theatre to stay open. There are some serious themes touched on, including the pervasive anti-Semitism of the extreme Right at this period but the film is overwhelmingly joyous, which is as it should be. The Popular Front didn't happily, which was a tragedy for France, but this film does, as do all good fairy tales.
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jdesando20 May 2009
I may have seen one of the last musical hall revivals in London a few years ago on The Strand—it was full of tinny song and dance that made you tap your feet and long for the good old days of vaudeville and innocence. The telly has pretty much killed that simple pleasure, but Paris 36, a melodramatic story of the revival of a Chansonia in northern Paris, 1936, revives the joy of ensemble acting and dancing, original music, and the intrigue so much a part of the lively arts when they become business and pleasure.

Three Parisians undertake saving a music hall in their section of Paris called Faubourg using the talents of a star-crossed couple supplying the on and off stage romance. The intrigue is much less than Cabaret's; the nostalgia is more than Cinema Paradiso's; it's all more Moulin Rouge than Amelie. The songs are fetching, made especially for the film, and the plot is pure cliché right down to the lecherous businessman and cute ingénue.

The background is unmistakably fascist versus socialist, owners battling workers for a depression-era slim slice of the economic pie and soul. Paris 36 risks it all with formulaic intrigue and predictable denouement. Yet throughout is a good cheer, a bel canto breeziness that draws you in to song, dance, history, and politics, never too heavy, light enough to make you wish that music hall still stood on The Strand.
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Vive Le Cinema, France
druid333-23 May 2009
If this film had been produced 60 to 70 years ago,it probably would have been directed by Jean Renoir and starred Jean Gabin as one of the central figures. 'Faubourg 36' (or as it is being distributed in English speaking countries as 'Paris 36')is a film that takes place in Paris, just before world war 2,when political tensions were at a boiling point between left leaning French & their ultra conservative right wing counterpoint (which would eventually embrace the Nazi party in Germany,especially when Hitler marched into Paris in the 1940's). A (failing)theatrical troupe,bent on preserving their beloved theater tries to pull things back together,they get support from some of the locals (including an alleged Communist,who claims he was in the Red Brigade in Russia),a young lass trying to break into the singing profession,a (mostly)unfunny comic & enough well meaning persons to try and bring things together. A corrupt local political figure,who wants to do little more than bring the ruination of the theater also looms. The film is complimented by a cracker jack cast of French professionals who turn in a splendid job of acting. The screenplay, although something of an overstuffed sandwich of sorts,is still well played out. The film features several songs,most of which are performed by the cast,themselves. At times,this film has a Busby Berkley feel to it (which is not a bad thing). In French with English subtitles. Rated PG-13 by the MPAA,this film contains a bit of rude language,some suggestive material that parents of very young children may not appreciate,and some violence (but nothing too gory that could disturb some sensitive audiences). Well worth a look.
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krzysiektom11 October 2009
A very nice cinematic experience. Everything was top notch - direction, script, acting, singing, scenography and costumes. The film leaves a warm feeling despite presenting many dark sides of life in Fauborg (outskirt of Paris) in the 1930s, like fascism, workers' strikes, unemployment, marital betrayal, loneliness. The director incredibly managed to mix pathos and sentimentality with sarcasm and sardonic humor in the same scenes, which prevented the film from being corny. Includes probably the best written funeral scene ever in my opinion. The songs are not remarkable, with one exception - a song about love where the main female character is virtually declaring love to a man from the stage. The female is a revelation, talented and beautiful young actress with good singing voice. I will gladly watch the film again.
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charlytully17 June 2009
Warning: Spoilers
All of the professional media to which I have access panned PAR1S 36, ostensibly because it was not as glitzy as director Baz Luhrmann's 2001 musical, MOULIN ROUGE! (More likely these critics were too lazy to read subtitles, especially during a musical.) A more apt comparison would pair PAR1S 36 with the 1999 Tim Robbins musical, CRADLE WILL ROCK. After all, both movies feature the development of a production during the story (from which the movies take their titles), both stories are set in the 1930s, and both feature large casts of theater socialists fighting against a few powerful fascists (which, in the case of CRADLE WILL ROCK, included a young Nelson Rockefeller personally taking a sledgehammer to a Diego Rivera mural in the newly-finished Rockefeller Center, circa 1933). Though I rated CRADLE WILL ROCK and MOULIN ROUGE with "10's," as far as musicals go, I think PAR1S 36 is involving enough to merit a solid "8" rating.
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La Belle Equipe
writers_reign27 December 2008
Warning: Spoilers
Imagine you've got a hard-on for thirties Hollywood - Fred, Ginger, the Golddiggers, Bill Powell, Myrna Loy, Frank Capra, Carole Lombard, Jean Arthur, Screwball Comedy, Katie Hepburn etc - and you check out your local Multiplex and damned if someone hasn't turned out a perfect pastiche. Alas, you'll have to make do with imagination because, let's face it, you just can't get the staff; no one currently writing and/or directing out of Hollywood has the affection, empathy, love and let's call a spade a spade, Respect for yesterday. This is not to say that Clint Eastwood, for example is a bad director, far from it, but he's not interested in that kind of stuff and there's no reason he should be. If, on the other hand your hard-on is for French films of the thirties, if in other words you lapse into drool mode at the mention of Arletty, Gabin, Prevert, Carne, Duvivier, Darrieux, Carette, Dalio, Raimu, Qai des Brumes, Hotel du Nord, Spaak, Jeanson, Aurenche et al then, mon amis, you have just died and gone to heaven, Hog Heaven yet because four years after his international hit Les Choristes, Christophe Barratier has come up with a Faberge egg of a movie that evokes all that's best about the era. The plot - a Music Hall is forced to close and the employees decide to run it themselves - is a nod to Prevert's Le Crime de Monsier Lange when it was a publishing house that got made over and indeed the Popular Front (in which Prevert was active) is very much in evidence. Gerard Jugnot is excellent as is Pierre Richard and Clovis Cornillac is be-capped a la Gabin albeit light years away from him in talent and charisma. Did I say there were songs as well? You better believe it. All in all a gem.
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Surprising gem
rba195325 May 2009
This movie was a surprising little gem. I knew nothing about it and went with some friends yesterday on a whim. It was beautifully photographed and the rendition of 1936 Paris seemed quite authentic. The costumes were exquisite, the story is engaging, and of all the characters were genuine. The scenes in the theater left me smelling the greasepaint

I think this movie captured me because I was once heavily involved in local, amateur theater where we knocked ourselves out putting on shows just for the fun of it. I could identify with these characters struggling to eke out a living and dreaming of fame and success. The contrast of such joyous activities and the hopes of Pigoil, Douce and Jacky, amongst others against those dark times in Europe gives this movie a wonderful, entertaining balance.

It is well worth seeing.
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Difficult to Explain the Charm
LeonardKniffel1 May 2020
It's difficult to explain this film's charm, but suffice it to say that if you love Paris and films about it, this portrayal of the city in 1936 will sweep you off your feet. At two hours long and in French, the movie may seem off-putting at first, but go with the flow and savor the fine direction, cinematography, sets, and the original music by Christophe Barratier. The story takes place in and around a Paris music hall, the proprietor of which has been charged with murder; during his confession we learn the story of the music hall in flashback performances. Even the kindest critics dismissed the film as what one called "a gleaming hunk of French period schmaltz." Exactly what I liked about it.
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'36 Paris.
morrison-dylan-fan2 September 2017
Warning: Spoilers
For the final day of the ICM Musical challenge I started looking round for any DVDs I might have of Musicals waiting to view. Moving a pile of DVD's that a family friend recently gave me,I was thrilled to stumble on a French Musical, which led to me booking 36 tickets to Paris.

The plot-

In a police station, Pigoil explains the events which led to him committing a murder.

Paris:New Years Day 1936:

Learning on New Years Eve in 1935 that his wife has been unfaithful, stage manager of the Chansonia music hall Pigoil rings in the New Year by local gangster Galapiat closing the club down. Struggling to find new work,Pigoil gets an extra kicking when he loses custody of his young son Jo-Jo. All in a similar situation,Pigoil and his friends decide to team-up and re-open the Chansonia. Initially angered by Pigoil overturning his orders, Galapiat gets a glimpse of the new direction Pigoil is taking the club in,when he meets the new leading star Douce.

View on the film:

Going back in time with a dazzling crane/steadicam opening shot, (all done in one take) co-writer/(with Julien Rappeneau/ Pierre Philippe/Frank Thomas/ Reinhardt Wagner and Jean-Michel Derenne ) director Christophe Barratier & cinematographer Tom Stern go back to a rustic Fantasy version of Paris in 1936,with vivid blue and gold filters giving the re-opened Chansonia an atmosphere of wander. Lifting the curtain to go backstage,Barratier makes each Musical number feed into the state of turnaround that the club is in at that point,as a gradual fading of lights and elegant whip-pans uncover the pressure Pigoil and Douce are under to keep the demands of Galapiat hidden backstage.

Partly based on Edith Piaf's relationship with nightclub owner Louis Leplee,the writers brilliantly thread an episodic thread around the Chansonia,via the moody Melodrama of Douce romantic heart criss- crossing with Pigoil's playfully funny fights to put his dream shows for the Chansonia on. Paying loving tribute to the "Dream Factory" eras of Hollywood and French cinema,the writers cook up a sweet pastiche,where all of the union strikes and the increased appearances of Fascists can't dim the lights of the Chansonia in putting on an escapist show for a troubled public.

Reuniting with Barratier, Gérard Jugnot gives a fantastic "everyman" performance as Pigoil,whose dry, determined wit Pigoil uses for dead-pan punchlines,whilst Bernard-Pierre Donnadieu gives Galapiat a slippery menace/fake charm. Kicking up the footlights, the very pretty Nora Arnezeder gives an exquisite performance as Douce,thanks to Arnezeder balancing the mischievous charisma Douce with the fragile love that Douce can barely keep wrapped in the curtains of the Chansonia.
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Extremely hard to explain but very easy to enjoy....
MartinHafer23 March 2011
This is an extremely well made film full of wonderful performances and great direction. The problem is, explaining exactly why I enjoyed it isn't all that easy--much of due to the rather unconventional plot.

The film begins in 1936. A very ordinary and unassuming looking man named Pigoil is being interrogated by the police about a murder he apparently committed. The rest of the film consists mostly of events from the last half year that led to this killing.

Pigoil and his friends work at a theater in Paris that has seen better days. They put on a variety show but the show is abruptly cut short when an evil fascist mobster takes over the place and shuts it down--leaving everyone out of work. After months of looking for jobs, Pigoil is so frustrated that he decides he and his out of work friends will just squat--take over the empty theater and stage a revival. There is A LOT more to the film--including several key subplots just too complicated to explain in the review. Oddly, however, late in the film it suddenly becomes, briefly, a slightly surreal song and dance number--like you'd find in a 1940s musical! But, once again, there is SO MUCH to this film that it's just one you need to see for yourself.

Some might no enjoy the film's somewhat episodic style or not understand the historical context for the movie. After all, today few would realize that France and much of Europe (and even the US) were experiencing fascist nationalistic movements. And, at the same time, Communists were also making in-roads with the masses--very much like the crap that was going on in Nazi Germany at the time--just not as organized or militant.

Overall, this is a cute and well-made film--one you will enjoy if you just give it a chance--it sneaks up on you!
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A nice, faithful, melodic Paris through time, evocation
angeliki_spatki10 December 2009
I voted for 6 because the film was overloaded. Too many characters and subplots - especially those with the French mafia sometimes called "apaches", were somewhat complicated and puzzling - not meaning that some other,especially those with communists and fascists were'not at least somewhat naive and clumsy.

I recommend this film because there is very good music inside - type of waltz, nice decoration of the sets with an exact theater of the 30s Belle Epoque. As for the externals, all the way long we see Paris with all those rainy-wet pavements, an eternal snow, always a heavy rain, it's picturesque attics looking to the sky, it's old buildings terraces viewing the Tour Eiffel and as we approach to the end, some scenes luxurious as they are, evoke Paris rich and fancy apartments at the "quartiers chic" as they are called.

The scenes of the music-hall are according to the typical tradition of French cabaret, enough satisfying as they recall Lido, Follies Bergeres, Moulin Rouge cabarets. The singing also refers to top french singers - Edith Piaf, Maurice Chevalier, Charles Trenet.

A very satisfying role and performance, is of Pigoil's - music-hall manager, son - a young boy who plays the accordion in the streets of Paris trying to earn some money with which buys some sausages as a supper offered to his father's lonely drinking - caused by his wife's cruel abandonment for the music-hall tenor.

I think this film to it's whole, was not bad directed, with a nice Parisian atmosphere. It will make you surely spend two relaxing and pleasant hours.
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Parisian Pastiche!
gradyharp22 August 2009
Paris 36 (FAUBOURG 36) is a deliciously entertaining blend of history (WW II and the French reaction to the Nazis), of cabarets, French vaudeville, and the fracturing of families that occurred during times of stress - all costumed in a period piece that revives the year 1936 in Paris with gentle humor and sensitivity. It is as refreshing as anything to come on the screen in a long time. Writer/director Christophe Barratier (with Pierre Philippe adding the dialogue) serve up this confection with underscored aplomb and the result is delectable!

1936, and the streets of Paris are being decimated by the recession/depression of the times: workers are revolting (lead by the handsome young Milou - Clovis Cornillac), the small time theaters such as the Chansonia under the loving direction of Pigoil (Gérard Jugnot) are on hard times, and the 'big bosses' of the times are finding ways to take over small businesses. To make things worse, Pigoil's wife runs off with an entertainer, leaving Pigoil to survive unemployment with his beloved son - that son is soon reluctantly moved away to join his prosperous mother and new 'caretaker'. Into this sad turn of events comes a naive but wondrously winsome lass named Douce (Nora Arnezeder) who takes part in the revitalization of the Chansonia, supplying the meager audience with her growing talent while urging the public to applaud for a a loser of a nice guy performer - Jacky (Kad Merad). A little star is born. Somehow it all comes together despite innumerable setbacks, and in the end the people own their hearts and regain their pride.

It is a simple story, but told with a glow of Parisian bloom that dissipates the gloom of the times and creates a moment of nostalgia well worth remembering. For an evening of joy this is a must. In French with English subtitles.

Grady Harp
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Great french movie, following "Les Choristes"
paty9122 August 2009
Warning: Spoilers
When i heard that the director from " Les Choristes" was releasing a new movie i thought it was a must see. And i was definitely right! the music is very good, the photography and the costumes are excellent and the actors too.

Nora Arnezeder came as a big surprise to me, this unknown girl who has such a great voice, she was very good, and, of course, Gerard Jugnot, the great Monsieur Mathieu from " Les Choristes" was amazing again. The thing i most liked about the movie is that it keeps you entertained from beginning to end, you really want to keep watching and you never get bored. The songs take you to the 1930's as well as the scenarios.

This movie is beautiful and definitely must be watched, it will definitely entertain you and you will enjoy good french cinema.
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The Chansonia
jotix10023 July 2011
Warning: Spoilers
"Paris 36" as this film is known in America, takes a look back to an era before the madness that fell upon Europe with the arrival of WWII and its after effects. The setting for the story is an old music hall where vaudeville-like acts are performed, mostly for the people of that Parisian quarter where the theater was located. A nostalgic look at that time is what is at the heart of this French film.

Written and directed by Christophe Barratier, the man that gave us "The Chorus", it is a film that evidently resonated with a lot of viewers that enjoyed the story of the old place. There are several themes running in the narrative like the clash of the emerging Social Democrats the party that admired its German neighbor and the leftist ideas from Leo Blum, an advocate for more radical views. Anti-Semitism, the loss of a son after a separation, a love story, are all interspersed in the film, with a bunch of songs with an old-fashioned style are all thrown in.

Gerard Jugnot, an actor closely associated to the director, plays Pigoil, the man whose whole life seems to have been lived at the Chansonia. Clovis Cornillac seen as Milou, is the leftist agitator with a connection to the old music hall and the love of a new singer that became a star at the Chansonia, Douce. Kad Merad is an imitator who loves to do Fernandel, without much of the wit of the real actor. Nora Arnezeder is lovely to look at with her Douce.

Tom Stern, a man that has worked a lot with Clint Eastwood, is on hand to give the old-fashioned look at the set that was built in Prague to resembled that run down part of Paris that probably could not be found in the present day Paris.
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