Bancs Publics (Versailles rive droite)

Versailles rive droiteBancs Publics (Versailles rive droite)

Bruno Podalydès :: France :: 2009 :: 1h50

We follow a woman on her daily routine through the crowded Parisian underground, weaving in between people, waiting for connecting trains, climbing up stairs and escalators. By the time she surfaces, she finds herself in the leafy Versailles walking to her work. And then the mystery strikes: Hanging from a window in front of her office she sees a black banner with the words: “Man alone” printed on it in big white letters.

The banner quickly becomes the talk of the office – is it a bachelor who is “open for business” or rather a cry for help? Is it desperate or charming? Curiosity gets the better of them and the investigation is launched. This is the thread which is to hold together three main scenes (in the office, the park and a DIY shop) and perhaps 30 different sketches involving a panoply of French acting talent. Partly the different characters are linked together as a relay story and partly they just weave in and out of the movie as in the opening scene with the woman’s anonymous interaction with the commuters.

With loneliness rampant amongst the characters, love is shown as an emotion akin to taking pity on someone and it survives on endurance (for fear of loneliness?). This is a rather negative vision of our most powerful emotion. Taking pity on someone is charming to a certain extent, but the power to seduce one another through “pull”, or attraction is more positive. Attraction shows that people dream for themselves and can actually pursue that life that they want, rather than just taking what is there. Or can attraction and pity fall together in a single shot?

Besides the opening scene, which is realistic, you will spend close to two hours in a theatrical vision of a society, if you go in. Partly funny, partly sad, partly slapstick and partly bad. It is mostly fun to see so many familiar faces in one movie, for those who follow French cinema, with Catherine Deneuve showing up, Thierry Lhermitte, Benoit Poelvoorde, Mathieu Amalric, Chiara Mastroianni, Julie Depardieu… it is busy in Versailles these days…

The film does not have a poster yet.

French release date: 8th July 2009


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