If you walked out of this year’s Oscar darling The Artist feeling that what it really could have done with were a few more arse shots, the odd misogynistic zinger and a pervasive sense of sexual despair, this multi-stranded Franco-com just might serve you well. Artist helmer Michel Hazanavicius even directs one of the nine short films that comprise The Players, each centring on the theme of adultery with slants ranging from absurdist to witty to bleak.
What they all are is deeply irreverent, as evidenced by the controversy sparked by the film and its poster following its debut in France earlier this year. While there’s undeniably a streak of misogyny at its centre by virtue of its flippantly unfaithful characters, there’s also a healthy dose of equal contempt for them – you’d struggle to make a case for this as a glamorised view of either adultery or sex. What’s likely to prove more of a problem is the unwelcome shift Dujardin’s role presents for those who enjoyed him as suave, winning silent star George Valentin, who retained his matinee idol polish even throughout a personal and professional downward spiral.
There’s not much in the way of polish here – a stylish opening sequence featuring Dujardin cruising the streets of Paris in a sports car is swiftly punctuated by said car breaking down at a red light – but plenty of downward spiraling. Dujardin and co-lead Gilles Lellouche play a series of different characters throughout the film’s various strands, but the one constant is their blithe and thoroughly guiltless pursuit of extramarital tail.
Hazanavicius’s The Good Conscience is one of the most successful segments, centring on Dujardin as a sad-sack corporate lackey trying to score during a business convention. It’s tough to imagine a farther cry from Valentin than this – or for that matter from Dujardin’s sub-Bond role in Hazanavicius’s OSS 117 films – and the long-time collaborators approach the excruciating Office-esque comedy with a canny lightness of touch.
Polisse writer and star Emmanuelle Bercot casts Dujardin alongside real-life wife Alexandra Lamy in The Question, a solemn portion that proves a welcome respite from the otherwise relentless tone of winking frivolity. It’s the only real attempt made to address the impact of adultery on a marriage, a theme that’s otherwise left pretty well untapped.
Dujardin – who co-produced the film and is also credited with its “original concept” – is, unlike his Artist counterpart, admirably unburdened by any sense of vanity. The bookending segments in which he and Lellouche play the same pair of vaguely sad serial adulterers end up encapsulating the film as a whole – they’re executed with wit and take one or two refreshingly unexpected turns (look out for the Vegas-set denouement in particular), but in the end shy away from the possibility of feeling like much more than trivialities. —Digitalspy.co.uk
Jean Dujardi (born 19 June 1972 in Rueil-Malmaison) is a French actor and comedian.
Dujardin first became famous on the French talent show Graines de star in 1996 as part of the comedy group Nous C Nous, formed by members of the Carré blanc theater. From 1999 to 2003 he starred in the French version of the comedy television series Un gars, une fille before transitioning into a film career. In 2005 he starred as the titular character in the popular comedy film Brice de Nice and performed the soundtrack of the film, Le casse de Brice.
In 2006 Dujardin portrayed the character Hubert Bonisseur de La Bath, agent OSS 117, in OSS 117: Cairo, Nest of Spies in a role which earned him a César Award nomination for Best Actor, something of exceptional rarity for a performance in comedy. In 2007, directed by Jan Kounen, he scored in 99F (99 francs), an existential parody of an advertising mule. In 2009 he again played OSS 117 in the film read more
Emmanuelle Bercot (born 6 November 1967) is a French actress, film director and screenwriter. Her film Clément was screened in the Un Certain Regard section at the 2001 Cannes Film Festival. —wikipedia
Michel Haznavicius (born 29 March 1967) is a French film director, producer and screenwriter best known for his spy movie parodies OSS 117: Cairo, Nest of Spies and OSS 117: Lost in Rio, both of which star Jean Dujardin. His upcoming film The Artist is scheduled to compete for the Palme d’Or at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival.
Before directing films, Haznavicius worked in television, beginning with the Canal+ channel, where he started as a director in 1988. He then moved into directing commercials for such companies as Reebok and Bouygues Telecom and made his first feature-length film, La classe américaine, for television in 1993. The film, co-directed with Dominique Mézerette, consisted entirely of footage taken from various films produced by the Warner Bros. studio, re-edited and dubbed into French. Haznavicius directed his first short film, Echec au capital, in 1997, and followed it up with his first theatrically released feature… read more
Filme coral compuesto por nueve episodios, los cuales giran alrededor de la infidelidad y la perennemente machista idiosincrasia masculina, desde diversos gags o puntos de vista críticos que van desde la comedia más valemadrista y desaforada hasta rozar los peligrosos terrenos del melodrama, pero curiosamente, ninguno de los episodios carece de interés. Uno de los puntos más altos del reciente 16° Tour de Cine Francés, el cual se sostiene gracias a la indudable bis cómica existente entre la pareja de actores/productores/directores/guionistas y principales impulsores del proyecto Jean Dujardin y Gilles Lellouche (quienes dan vida a diferentes personajes en cada uno de los episodios). Quizá se trate de un producto que incomode al espectador sensible y selecto promedio, ya que la cinta destila en cada uno de sus 24 cuadros por segundo cantidades industriales de vulgaridad, misoginia y mala leche, pero quitándonos de mamadas, lo mejor que les puede decir su servilleta de la dichosa película es que se cagó de risa prácticamente durante toda la función, y les aseguro: para que una comedia concebida como tal me arranque siquiera una pinche sonrisita, está verdaderamente cabrón.
Six shorts in this film that reminded me of some French movies of the 50's and some Italian comedies of the 60's and the 70's. France is France and I understand now why this film didn't have so much publicity when the Academy awards were discussed. Just imagine let's say Leonardo di Caprio presenting his latest politically correct movie and shooting in the same time a near porno auteur film. But I'm wandering from the point. And in fact, Brando dit it in the early 70's. Now I laughed a lot at The Players and can't but recommended it to you if you're looking for a smart comedy.