Wednesday, 15 March 2017

MFFF REVIEW: SOUVENIR



9/10
Once upon a time Liliane was a famous pop singer and almost won Eurovision once. Now she is working in a pate factory, packing boxes all day long. Her life is suddenly changed when she meets Jean. Jean is a boxer, half her age and completely besotted with her. When Jean asks her to sing at his local club Liliane reluctantly agrees. The attention from the press that follows , she did not ask for. Would Liliane be able to make a come back? And if she succeeds, what is the price to pay?

The main titles of SOUVENIR appear on the background of beautiful bubbles. The bubbles look surreal, something of out of space, a promise of something magical. When the camera draws backwards we realise that the bubbles are nothing but the aspirin dissolving in the glass of water. This is an allegory - SOUVENIR is about the secret beauty  of everyday things.

Isabelle Huppert, who won an Oscar nomination for her part in ELLE is indeed one of the most significant modern living actors. Only Huppert can effortlessly pull out a pop siren at sixty three! The script is simple, but this is LA LA LAND type of simple, and just like LA LA LAND it has plenty of music, but not quite enough to be a musical.

SOUVENIR Is a subtle comedy, but typically for French cinema - funny and drama are always side by side. The film has a great premise, but with its limited budget it would never have worked without its star. Huppert is magnificent and her performance here should not be missed.

The Supporting cast does its job well, but they are here only to be a background for the main star. SOUVENIR is a crowd pleaser. It is funny, uplifting and a little sad at the same time. For those who were disappointed by LA LA LAND, this is the musical (that's not really a musical) for you!

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