Friday, 20 April 2018

FRENCH FILM FESTIVAL REVIEW: NORMANDIE NUE


7/10

This small farmers’ community in Normandy is under attack. The price of milk plunges, government support dries up and banks are knocking at the doors. Is there a way to turn the situation around?

George Balbuzard, the mayor, believes that nation-wide exposure would help his little town back on its feet. The arrival of American photographer Newman, who makes the crowd photos of nude crowds, may be just the opportunity he needs to put his town on the map of France. But will he be able to break through the stubbornness and prejudices of the town’s people in time for the photo session?

The simple and familiar premise of NORMANDIE NUE lies heavily on the charisma of the film’s lead Francois Cluzet. Here he is a down to earth, trustworthy and sympathetic mayor who has to deal with little grudges and dramas of his fellow citizens who just refuse to see the big picture.

If you have seen Full Monty and Calendar Girls you will know what to expect from NORMANDIE NUE. The collection of quirky characters will have doubts, will laugh, will have fights with each other and eventually come around.  The eccentric American photographer portrayed by Toby Jones fits right in, surrounded by the peculiar(and at times odd) characters of NORMANDIE NUE.

The movie promises simple and lighthearted fun and delivers it, but there was not enough comedy for me. I expected to laugh much more than I did.

NORMANDIE NUE is a little to long for my liking, it does have a French provincial charm, but is slow in its narrative and some of the characters can be silly to the point they are not enjoyable to watch.

It is a solid effort and will surely sell well overseas, but I couldn’t get rid of the feeling that the writers and the director did not have much to offer beyond the  premise that made similar movies popular.

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