Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Priceless (French) : A Beautiful Journey In Romance

~ Stills of the French Actress Audrey Tautou ~

It has been a long time since I had a lazy weekend. Without travelling. Without reading. Without any binges or consequent hang-overs. It is indeed fabulous to sleep on and on. To escape the tyranny of the clock has been one of the cherished longings of my life. And I could indulge in such luxuries only once in a while. It certainly helps. To reinvigorate and rescue some sanity from the maddening life. I slumbered this Sunday away and woke up in the middle of a beautiful dream which am not able to recollect. It must have been beautiful for I woke up with a smile inside the quilt. It was dark and the sound of the rains falling from the skies embraced me with a warm welcome, held my hands and took me to the real from the ethereal. Both being unusually tantalising. Like Charles Baudelaire, I was tempted to ask the wind and the wave, ask the star, the bird, or the clock, ask everything that flies, everything that moans, everything that flows, everything that sings, everything that speaks, ask them, what time it is! And the wind, the wave, the star, the bird and the clock will all reply: “It is Time to get drunk! If you are not to be the martyred slaves of Time, be perpetually drunk! With wine, with poetry, or with virtue, as you please.” When I saw the time with a vengeance, it was half-past One in the afternoon. A Cheshire Cat smile adorned my mischievous face, for I felt like having vanquished the wicked tickling time!

The idiot box has resurrected itself with some intelligence after the arrival of two interesting channels : NDTV Lumiere and UTV World Movies. Thanks to the marketing brilliance of Prannoy Roy and Ronnie Screwvala, we get to see some amazing movies from the world cinema. It is a real leap from those good old Doordarshan days when we used to watch the regional Indian movies on Sunday afternoons after the news for the hearing impaired and some world movies on late Friday nights after a long wait. With the advent of the DVDs, this niche market is becoming more sophisticated with the demand and supply chain veering towards a reasonable equilibrium. These days, you can acquire a Fritz Lang or a Jacques Tati, a Wim Wenders or a Fatih Akin with so much ease. This was unimaginable until a few years ago. Hope it should not take much time to get a Pier Paolo Pasolini or a Sergei Parajnov from a Landmark shop, rather than depending upon torrentz downloads and the subsequent sub-titling labour involved in the process. During the last few months, both the Tamil and Hindi film industry have started churning out muck after muck. The latest ones being Mani Ratnam's Raavan and Punit Malhotra's I Hate Luv Stories. With the kind of reviews both had got, I chose to stay indoors and enjoy the rains instead of getting into a masochistic exercise of watching some trash. Surprisingly, during such times, the rain god blesses you doubly well. That is how I got to watch the French movie Priceless on NDTV Lumiere this Sunday.

Jean works as a bartender in a hotel and pretends to be a rich man. He woos Irene, whose sole aim is to enjoy all the riches of life and make it big. She loves to be solicited by the rich and the lonely lot, by trading her seductive company. After a romantic rendezvous with Jean, Irene discovers the real net worth of Jean and dumps him. The forlorn Jean pursues Irene with a few encounters which end up becoming comic rather than striking any warm note in the heart of Irene. Jean becomes a gigolo and gets picked up by a wealthy widow. The wealthy old lady pampers Jean to satisfy her whims and fancies arising out of her need to care and to be taken care of. Jean starts leading his dream-come-true lifestyle, which is otherwise unaffordable. Meanwhile, Irene becomes an escort of a rich patron whose is again lonely and lost in the material world. Both the weird pairs come to stay at the same luxurious hotel. This paves way for Jean to meet Irene on the sly. Irene teaches Jean the art of digging more money and favours from his client. The trick works for a while but gets discovered by the smarter old lady who is a past master in the game. The old lady ends up by merely warning Jean not to act coy henceforth, as she finds herself entangled in her emotions towards Jean. Gradually, Irene and Jean start missing each other amidst their swanky and opulent lives which they have started indulging themselves. During the middle of a night, when their respective clients are fast asleep, both Irene and Jean escape to the sea shore in the vicinity, have champagne and start feeling an overwhelming intimacy towards each other. They wake up at the dawn and without expressing a word to each other, return to the hotel. I leave the rest of the story to be relished by watching the movie only.

What enchanted me the most in the movie is the way the characters are portrayed. The opulence of the rich is not portrayed as villainous and ugly. And the longing for the riches by the under-privileged is not run down over with any moral sermoninising. Both have their own charms and their own truths. Every character is handled with an empathy and a genuineness worthy of itself. Though the movie ends in a happy note with the triumph of true love over money, it has been nuanced with all the richness of the wealthy. A very interesting facet of the movie is that though both the lovers might be sleeping with their respective clients as a professional hazard, they don't moralise about it at all and their love for each other grows more and more passionate. The director has accomplished this with such ease and finesee that one may not find it incongruous in anyway! That is no ordinary feat by the brilliant director Pierre Salvadori. And the real discovery for me is Audrey Tautou. She is a wonder of a human being, encapsulating all the myriad expressions moulded into a single beautiful face. The most memorable character in this movie Priceless is Irene, which has been performed remarkably well by Audrey Tautou. Am yet to watch any of her other famous movies like Amelie, The Da Vinci Code or Coco Avant Chanel, to name a few. Hope to watch them soon.

Simple but endearing romantic movies like this are a delight to watch. Especially when it rains!

Movie Rating : 8 out of 10


  1. You've brought out the feelings of a lazy weekend so beautifully well. When such a dreamy day gets laced with a nice movie like what you've seen, coupled with the rains, the effect would be mesmerising. I'm envious of you!

  2. red earth and pouring rainJuly 10, 2010 at 1:06 AM

    Blessed are those who sleep beyond the set time pattern and those who gets the company of Audrey Tautau in their sunday siesta. Less blessed ones need to take 'cover and alibi' to commit the crime of watching those movies, which brings 'Head ache' to majority lot. Chance singularly conspired recently in helping me to watch 'Amelie' in one cultural center on one serious working day. Again chance that I could watch the movie acted by Audrey, just 5 days and 2 hours after our beloved blogger watched 'Priceless".

    Personification of mischevous innocence in that face of Audrey. Excellent acting by the actress, who perfectly occupied the whole 120 minutes of screening time. In the movie, Shy, introvert girl, AMELIE, working in one Cafe in Paris. She tries to help all surrounding ones in improving their living. In the meantime, She fall in love with one guy. Unable to express her love openly, she plays cat and mouse game with her lover in later half of the movie. At last, all is well that ends well.

    Amazing qualities of the movie were acting of Audrey and great story telling of the Director. Need not comment much about the acting skills of the actress, who is one of the all time best french actresses. She looks like one of the face which came straight out of the Great French impressionist paintings. This was symbolically compared with one RENOIR painting in the movie also.

    More amazing was the story telling. whole film was profused with IRONY. All characteres are parodied. Each and every frame was oozing with mischievous smile of director. One could feel that the Director was smiling standing behind the screen like enlightened elder soul. The tone of the story telling immediately reminded me of Vaikom Muhammed Basheer, Malayalam writer. After watching acting of the Audrey, I feel this endemic Audrey fever should spread to the other regions and all good movies of her should be watched.

    Happen to watch Blue of Kieslowsky, also. Inevitably, one has to compare Juliette Benoche of BLUE with Audrey. Both are french actresses and posses great acting skills. They are fighting mockfight in my soulscape. With my limited exposure to french cinema,etc., my heart is sub consciously tilting towards Juliette. No offence to sathyu and other hard core fans of Audrey. I pray that All good french actresses should be blessed especially those who read Baudelaire, Rimbaud, Mallarme et al.

  3. Ahem!

    I had always been a die-hard fan of Juliette Binoche after watching her edifying performances in Philip Kaufman's 'Unbearable Lightness Of Being' (based on da work of Milan Kundera), Lars ven Lasse Hallstrom's 'Chocolat' (da same director had made da wonderful 'My Life As A Dog') & da latest one by Abbas Kiarostami's 'Certified Copy'. And of course, Krzysztof Kieslowski's 'Blue' which is da first in da trilogy of Three Colours, as mentioned by Red Earth & Pouring Rain. Here i've to admit a personal sentiment as yet another reason for my madness for Juliette Binoche : we both share da same date of birth - 9th of March 1964!

    But with a heavy heart, I've to confess dat, watching 'Amelie' had swept me off my feet. I was blown away completely. It was one of those sad evenings of my life, where I realised dat am fast becoming disloyal to my first love Juliette Binoche & my heart was uncontrollably veering towards Audrey Tautou, a gal who'z around 14 years younger than 'us'! I began watching alomost all her films starting from her first 'Venus Beauty Institute' till da latest 'Coco Before Chanel', downloading from Torrentz. And i just can't describe how i feel so possessed in my body & soul, everytime i watch her.

    Am quite happy dat Red Earth & Pouring Rain is tilting towards Binoche. Keep it up, dost! But am highly upset with da bugging blogger dat he'z not leaving anyone from da 65 year old Aparna to da mystical lass in her early 30s - my dear dear Tautou. Thank heavens dat he has not written yet another seductive letter to Tautou in his blog like wat he did with Aparna. Da bugger has just stopped after quoting Charles Baudelaire, a poet who is adored both by me & Tautou. And not ventured further. May da good sense prevail more & more upon u, sirji.

    Come on Pallavi! Drive some sanity into dis desperado. And save my passion (u gotta pronounce it like da French, to get its feel!) for Tautou from such unsatiated predators. Will u?

  4. The rating (8 out of 10) initially appeared scary. But after so much tau tau over Tautou, I feel I should also take time out for the movie. The magic Sathya weaves with the wrapper, makes one fall for the product. But, this time the product seems to be genuine.

  5. Charming blog!

    It was very nice and delightful to read u'r blog about everything..
    Especially this "Priceless".. It's chanceless!
    It has become one of my favourite among u'r blogs..

    The way u've revealed about a lazy weekend has emerged like a poetry.
    Great inspiring and very beautiful thoughts!
    It clearly shows u'r flair for literature..
    U always rock!

    U'r blog on Priceless and Audrey Tautou was narrated beautifully.
    I desire to watch those kind of wonderful movies like u experienced!
    Itz always lovely to watch romantic movies.but only lucky persons like u
    can watch those movies coupled with rains..

    The comments given by the great fan(chiris) of Audrey Tautou was really a fun..

    This blog is a fusion of cute pictures, cute poetry, nice review, enjoyable comments..

    Really I had a pleasant time..