Une heure de tranquillité/ Do Not Disturb (Patrice Leconte, France, 2014)

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une heure de tranquillite

I went to see this for Rossy de Palma and it was worth seeing for her. She’s middle-aged now, a bit zaftig. She’s still got the wonky Picasso eyes, which evoke a memory of the strange and marvellous energy her mere presence once catapulted into any film, but can now pass for an ordinary working-class middle-aged Spanish lady, as she does here. The film seems to me a nothing; or to be fair, nothing I understand. It’s a farce in which Michel Leproux (Christian Clavier) is seeking one hour of tranquillity in which to listen to that great jazz album he’s been longing to hear all his life and finally found but gets constantly interrupted: his wife reveals an affair; the son brings in a Phillipino family to stay, the Polish plumber who is really Portuguese bursts the pipes, his mistress comes to reveal their affair to the wife etc. It’s very French and very sitcommy. I did not find it funny though the audience I saw it with could not stop laughing in ways that I simply didn’t get: offering guests at the neighbourhood party expensive wine got howls of laughter. I found the representation of Rossy de Palma as the Spanish maid, the jokes about the Portuguese/Polish plumber and the whole bit with the Phillipinos a bit crude and slightly racist. What it did make me think of is how certain people can just lift a film out of ordinariness and make it worthwhile to see and think about, like some expensive and exotic ingredient in a store-bought trifle. In this film it’s Rossy of course, who seems to be acting in a coarser, better film than this one — she feels slightly out of place; and Carole Bouquet as the wife, who doesn’t get to do very much but manages to express quite a bit and is so extremely beautiful one can’t help but be riveted by her mere presence.

José Arroyo

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