Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Les Poupees Russes - Russian dolls

2005 by Cedric Kalpisch - French movie

I wonder how I didnt notice, till recently, that L'Auberge Espagnole had a sequel. L'Auberge, for me, is one of the best movies ever about university students. Sure it was quite different from the American pies or other Hollywood ones which were just famous for other reasons, but L'Auberge.. was a class apart, many levels apart actually.

The sequel is, first of all, different in a big way that it is not called part 2 at all. Kalpisch has completely made a new plot, just using the same old characters, concentrating more on a few of them. Which itself is quite nice and different from all the sequel dramas we are used to from around the world, especially Holl/Bollywoods.

So Xavier is at his 30's, has broken up with Martine, and is working with Wendy. William is getting married to a Russian girl and hence, after few years, the whole Barcelona gang is meeting in St. Petersburg for the marriage.

What is really interesting, and commendable, is that only towards the last 1/3rd or so, are we in St. Petersburg. Till then the movie is still around Xavier, his struggling life and little bits of Martine and also his working with Wendy. And this was brilliant. Most people would call this as a romantic comedy and in some ways it really is. But I would say it is not exactly a romantic comedy until the last minutes. Until then it is a classic comedy about the life of a man, struggling both with his work and with girl friends.

Martine, played super super brilliantly by Audrey Tautou, still have a lot of space in Xavier's life and most of the moments between these two are incredibly funny. The scene when Martine arrives back from Brazil and the ensuing fight is incredibly brilliant. Also put in that scene, when Martine, in a kind of dream sequence, is explaining to her kid about her relationships, were brilliant, out of this world actually. What an actress this woman is. It is such a pity that she does not get the kind of recognition she deserves, outside Europe, unlike the Hollywood divas who are more famous in the third world. Real pity.

And Romain Duris has done an even better performance than part one. He is extraordinary in this one.

The movie tends to be like a popular romantic comedy towards its end, which does takes away some sheen out of its classic stature. But that should be all right for most people watching this.

A brilliant funny film. It is very very different from its original, and should manage its own position in the film world, even if it is not known as a sequel. 

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