The Goulburn Film Group's 27th August movie is the witty and delightful French comedy/drama Rosalie Blum, winner of the Best Film Audience Prize 2016 – Alliance Francaise French Film Festival.
Directed by Julien Rappeneau, Rosalie Blum is an ingeniously crafted movie about a random encounter that has unexpected and life-changing consequences.
Thirty-something Vincent Machot (indelibly played by Kyan Khojandi) is a shy, lugubrious, prematurely balding hairdresser.
He carries on the tradition like his hairdresser father before him. He lives a mundane ordered life. It rotates around work, his overbearing, manipulative mother – with Vincent pandering to her many whims – who lives in the apartment upstairs, and a womanising cousin constantly trying to set him up.
But one morning Vincent experiences a powerful déjà-vu when he meets the gaze of a grocery store clerk, Rosalie Blum (the fabulous Noémie Lvovsky), the mysterious forty-something owner of a provincial corner shop. He is instantly intrigued by this mystifying woman.
Vincent becomes obsessive and secretly starts following Rosalie around town with a desire to uncover the truth behind their connection.
Rosalie become suspicious and ask her niece to in turn investigate Vincent. And so begins a game of hide-and-seek with unforeseen outcomes.
To reveal more would only spoil the surprises of Rappeneau’s impeccably directed and performed tale, other than to say that a series of coincidences – both hilarious and moving – memorably brings together a group of lost souls.
The film is divided loosely into three chapters each delivering perfectly nuanced cameos which narrate the main character's differing perspectives of an event.
Each chapter adds another layer to the mystery and the story gains intensity and texture with each person's retelling. We gradually start to see how each character is held captive to their past and totally oblivious to the fact.
The accounts, when they are retold, are a mixture in equal parts exotic and mundane, heart-rending and somehow exhilarating.
In the third and final chapter, in which Rosalie takes centre stage, all the loose ends are tied up when she makes an appointment to get her hair done in Vincent's salon.
Rosalie Blum is an intelligent, sometimes dark but optimistic movie with many emotional undercurrents. It is a perfect balance of comedy, drama and romance – with the merest touch of mystery – deftly directed with a screenplay full of surprises.
At its heart, Rosalie Blum centres around the individual's every day struggle against loneliness and the very basic human need for a meaningful connection. Its main themes are the importance of altruism, forgiveness and the value of compassion.
The picturesque small town with its rural decor is the perfect backdrop for this beguiling movie.
Rosalie Blum will surely drag you into its orbit and you will leave the cinema feeling buoyant. This is French cinema at its finest: tender, capricious and unique.
It’s an absolute joy to watch.