Video: Audrey Tautou & Chanel No 5


I’d completely forgotten about Audrey’s appearance in the lengthy Chanel No 5 advert, directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet (who also directed her in ‘Le fabuleux destin d’Amélie Poulain/Amélie’ and ‘Un long dimanche de fiançailles/A Very Long Engagement’). I came across it while searching for information on the perfume for a novella I’m writing. It’s a fanciful advert, very much in Jeunet’s style. Whether or not the scent of Chanel has the effect it’s shown to have here… well, I suppose that’s a matter of personal taste.

The Unabashed Francophile Post, Part 5: Audrey Tautou

Audrey Tautou Cannes I have a bit of a thing for Audrey Tautou. Okay, more than a bit. I can’t quite define what it is that I like about her. She is talented and gorgeous, but there’s also an intangible something that has caught my fancy.

I, like most of the English-speaking world, first met Ms. Tautou in the film Le fabuleux destin d’Amélie Poulain. The film is a fantasy Paris narrated through the eyes of the fanciful dreamer, Amélie, where clouds turn into animals, old men find their childhood toys, and she can dream of love.

The film is a delight to watch and has become one of my favourites, perfect for a quiet afternoon with a cup of tea.

But what about her other work?
Another of my favourite films is Priceless (Hors de prix), where she co-stars with Gad Elmaleh, playing a young gold-digger who mistakes a bartender for a wealthy target. It’s a charming comedy and the premise seems funnier and far more interesting in French than it might be as done by Hollywood.

She starred in the blockbuster The Da Vinci Code with Tom Hanks, though I can’t say that it is among my favourite films. I far prefer her in films such as Dieu est grand, je suis toute petite, where she plays a young woman who falls in love with a veterinarian who is a non-practicing Jew. She decides to convert, and the film is part comedy, part philosophy.

If I had to make a list, I’d recommend the following films:

  • Dieu est grand, je suis toute petite (God is Great and I Am Not)
  • Dirty Pretty Things
  • Coco avant Chanel (Coco Before Chanel)
  • Hors de prix (Priceless)
  • Le fabuleux destin d’Amélie Poulain (Amélie)

No matter what, if you haven’t seen a film with Audrey Tautou (excluding The Da Vinci Code), then you haven’t really had the chance to appreciate her talent. And in the meantime, I’ll go watch Priceless or Amélie and see if I can figure out just what that something is.

Link: IMdB

The Unabashed Francophile Post, Part 2: French films

I won’t make the attempt to list every French language film that I love, but here are three of my especial favourites…

La fille sur le pont (The Girl on the Bridge), with Daniel Auteuil and Vanessa Paradis.

Adele is a woman with nothing to lose, standing on a bridge over the Seine, willing herself to jump. Instead, she meets Gabor (Daniel Auteuil, one of my favourite actors), a knife-thrower needing a new assistant. Hardly a safe choice, but far better than cold river water. It’s a strange partnership, but one that compels. (Also, for those that are into it, Daniel Auteuil has some very nice guyliner. Perhaps that’s partly why I like this movie so much! Yum!) The film is shot in black and white and the theme track is by Angelo Badalamenti, sung by Marianne Faithfull.

And that connection leads me to the next film, actually a mini-series. Directed by Josée Dayan, with the soundtrack by the aforementioned Angelo Badalamenti, Les liaisons dangereuses (Dangerous Liaisons) is based upon the novel, but brought forward into 1960s France. It features a diverse, all-star cast, including Catherine Deneuve, Rupert Everett, Nastassia Kinski and Leelee Sobieski. If you can, pick this one up in its 3-disc edition, as the 1-disc edition has been edited down (and I have yet to be convinced that the dialogue wasn’t overdubbed by other actors). This is by far my favourite adaptation of the novel. I’m not at all fond of the one starring John Malkovich. The film Valmont (with Colin Firth) is worth a look. But this version… it sizzles. Plus it has Catherine Deneuve, one of France’s premiere actresses.

And that brings me to the third film of this post, the very classic Belle de Jour. It’s probably Deneuve’s best known film, though it certainly wasn’t the first of hers I saw. (That honour goes to The Hunger, which also starred David Bowie and a young Susan Sarandon.) Severine is a young wife, bored and dissatisfied, and not physically intimate with her husband. She first satisfies herself with vivid, erotic fantasies, but takes those fantasies a step further when she becomes ‘Belle de jour’, a prostitute at a Parisian brothel.

Directed by surrealist master Luis Buñuel, Belle de Jour is a striking film, even if one is not very interested in slightly kinky sex and the BDSM tendencies of Severine’s erotic fantasies. Catherine Deneuve is a master of her art. I could watch her films for hours without complaint.

Next time you’re at the video store – oh, who are we kidding – you’re really looking on Netflix or something, since it is 2011 – check out one or all of these films. You won’t regret it.