Monday, July 03, 2006

Yet again proving what they say about shellfish...

Through the haze of freshly squeezed Strawberry-Lemon-Lime vodka cocktails (hey, it's summer), Cote D'Azur (or if you're French, Crustacés et coquillages which literally translates to Shellfish and Seashells) proved the perfect accompany piece to a sweltering hot lazy afternoon. Afterall, this is a French vacation sex romp which, however much you may expect from the French in terms of serious ("Pure") cinema, they seem to also frequently deliver with an admirable ease. As it hit cinemas under the moniker of "gay," I was not unjustly suspicious. Imagine my surprise to find this charming little gem.

Sensually assured Beatrix (Valeria Bruni Tedeschi from Ozon's 5X2 and Le Temps Qui Reste), her rather stifled husband and their two, quite adolescent children spend a summer at his dead grandmother's summer house on thMediterraneanan. The son, Charly, an ambiguously sexual enfant sauvage with a gay best friend, spends his time abusing himself in the shower. The daughter, Laura, is so busy fucking her biker boyfriend that she literally disappears half way through the film. The parents think Charly is gay, and really, so do we. He's not, however, and his meanderings in the dark cruising zones (following his ami) unearth a family secret (of course!) which turns the whole family upside down - though, surprisingly, not in a bad way.

Directed by the same duo which brought us The Adventures of Felix and My Life on Ice, Cote D'Azur is a casually assured piece of filmmaking, more fun than anything else. The writing is tight and witty. Hillariously humane moments like Beatrix's pot-adled confessed adoration of airplanes induce surprising fits of laughter. That the whole thing seldom rises above romp, and therefore never forces itself to deal with great consequence is a certainly a plus in my mind. I mean, this is a movie whose concept of realism includes musical numbers. Now, having our nation's cinematic roots in the musical, one wonders why so few American pictures break out into song and dance. It would surely have made Crash a little more bearable.

Cote D'Azur comes greatly recommended from this critic. It's smart and sassy. And the closer you can get to my method of viewing - freshly squeezed alcoholic beverage, sweltering heat, fan on high - the better! I couldn't picture the film any other way.


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