The Great Magic *
by Noémie Lvovsky
French film, 1h50
We are used to being drawn into the imagination of actress and director Noémie Lvovsky, whose films are imbued with a touching tenderness. Here she meets that of the Italian playwright Eduardo De Filippo, whose play she freely adapts and espouses the style that is both whimsical and offbeat.
The illusion constitutes the heart of it and draws from the very sources of the cinema its original and disconcerting approach. With its outrageous make-up, its sudden accelerations of the image and its musical interludes during which the actors, not always right, sing very pretty songs composed by Arthur Teboul of the group Feu! Chatterton.
It’s flawed, clumsy and fucked up
It’s less a musical than yet another variation, this time very theatrical, on the theme of the power of fiction and the stories we tell ourselves to make the world and reality more bearable. This is what happens to Charles (Denis Podalydès), a contemptuous and jealous notable, who keeps his wife under glass at the risk of suffocating her. While they are on vacation by the sea, Marta (Judith Chemla) takes advantage of a conjuring act, organized by a troupe of acrobats, to take to their heels.
To the husband who urges the return of his wife, the distraught magician (Sergi Lopez) goes to hand over a box in which she is supposed to be. While recommending that he only open it if he has absolute faith in her, at the risk of losing her forever… When in doubt, Charles prefers to live under the illusion that she will soon reappear.
You have to agree to enter this particular universe with its conventions, which are reminiscent of those of Ma Loute, Bruno Dumont, to appreciate its charm. That of the great theater of illusions made with three pieces of string and led by a “troupe” of outstanding actors, from Dominique Valadié to Rebecca Marder via François Morel, Damien Bonnard or Micha Lescot, with a special mention for Denis Podalydès, who finds there a playground to his measure. It’s imperfect, clumsy, crazy, but you end up letting yourself get carried away. No doubt because the cinema is a bit of this magic on the big screen…
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