Menage (aka Evening Dress) / Tenue de soirée (Bilingual)
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Ménage [Evening Dress]
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Top Customer Reviews
In this case we start with an unhappy. broke and bored couple Antoine (Michel Blanc) and Monique (Miou-Miou). Into their lives dances (literally) Bob (Gerard Depardieu) a sexy, swaggering, amoral, bi-sexual ex-con and thief. Before you can blink he has seduced the couple into joining him on his raids on the houses of the rich. Meanwhile the sexual politics between the three get ever more complex as it becomes clear Bob is far more turned on to the mousy, devoutly heterosexual Antoine than he is to the more obviously attractive Monique. Ultimately it becomes, in it's absurdist way a meditation on how power and sex work in relationships, as well as letting go of one's self-image.
All three actors are terrific, but Depardieu in particular seems to be having a blast – a macho tough guy one second, a tender gay romancer the next. All played with a kind of honesty and humanity that only makes the extremes that much funnier.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
The film is a must not only because of the weird and hilarious story but also for the great lines (a condition of success in French theaters). Who will forget the famous comment : "When I see your gloomy face, I feel like ordering a coffin " ?
This film has become a classic in France. It displays the same black humor as "Le pere Noel est une ordure" (you don't want me to translate this and you don't want to know what happens to Santa Claus).
If you want to discover French cinema, you better get used to Bernard Blier's destructive humor, who spares nobody.
Besides all else that this film might be about, it is also about mutability... the fact that our identities may not... at all, be as fixed as we might safely think. That... depending on the circumstances, and the particular people we meet... and our willingness to not judge, and to be open to things outside our own experiences, that even the most seemingly black-and-white self-definitions might (then) be allowed to blur and metamorphosize into something quite other than as we were when starting-out. Self-realization with the absence of fear... a fear shaped by societal convention. But... because this film explores mutability of the most profoundly personal type, it may be safer just to laugh at its opera-buffa qualities than to realize that, at its core, it dares to shake us by our ankles to acknowledge that we're never as « safe » as we might believe. Perhaps this is the reason some might find this film offensive, and why, also, societal-variance is so very frequently met with such ridicule, abuse and hatred... it's easier to hate than to believe that truths we hold as most immutable, under those right circumstances, are as fragile as dust on the wind.
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