BONVOYAGE
DIRECTOR:     Jean-Paul Rappeneau
FRANCE 2003
MUSIC:            Gabriel Yared
CINEMATOGRAPHY:     Thierry Arbogast
CAST:     Isabelle Adjani, Gerard Depardieu, Virginie Ledoyen, Yvan Attal, Gregori Derangere, Peter Coyote

French films about World War 2 are always difficult and sometimes, they are really strange and ... well ... messy ... and you have to figure it all out, in the end, they do not always come off ... and this film ends up vague and totally off key.  Maybe they blend into the French countryside and make you think that something romantic is capable of happening ... amidst all the ... everything else taking place and World War 2 was a difficult place for the French populace and specially the underground and how they waged their own war.

In a story that has the hopes of a child and the dreams of a girl, the story takes many turns and eventually finds the child in another dream and the girl in an impossible situation, with a spy for the Germans.

Sounds confusing?

It is, but it is a nice story that defies description at times as it tends to move along and not give away anything else.

The girl is now a famous actress and her biggest problem is that she has given herself up to the film ideal and is not capable of living out a life. And she ends up finding herself a part of various stories when she accidentally, or otherwise since it doesn't really matter in the end, kills a man that is over eager to make out with her. And of course her young friend whom she has known since her child days becomes involved and is thought to be the person that commits the crime.

The French aristocracy moved to the south areas in France hoping to escape the Germans and here they both get entangled with another story where someone is trying to escape with some materials that could/would (eventually) help create the bomb, and the main concern was to ensure that it did not get into German hands. Eventually the scientist and the materials get away, by a stroke of luck, with the usual hang-ups and everyone converging in the same place. And there the story unfolds further and the film ends with the public in a theater watching the film, which ends with a dance and song by the famous actress.

The film has some amazing performances, and Gerard Depardieu is probably the best and most entertaining of them all. Isabelle Adjani does her take on Hollywood stars and in the end, she is the star that gets taken away by the wrong people, as the spy was the only person left and the only assurance that she could (probably) continue her haute life.

With some very nice music by Gabriel Yared that never seems to interfere with the film and give it the Hollywood style of grandeur, the direction by Jean-Paul Rappeneau is fairly clean and well done. One does not get the feeling that the film is not missing anything to get the story done, or that something else should be here, and the film does not fall for the American hint hint hint style of film that brings the story down.

This film might be boring for American audiences in that there is no "action" and "excitement" or "peeping" at all, and that is an advantage for a French film that in a way is almost a total satire of the American style of film making and the "entertainment" that it ends with, which was the most visible in Hollywood after the war was over.

Very nice film
4 GIBLOONS

 

   

      

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