Vivement Dimanche

Vivement DimancheWe first saw Vivement Dimanche, the great François Truffaut’s very last film, in 1983, in the Roman theatre in Fiesole (which is transformed into an outdoors cinema in the summer months) and loved it. The film is quirky (filmed in black and white) but we remembered it as an ordinary crime thriller with an occasional comic twist. A small town estate agent, Julian Vercel (played with brilliant deadpan by Jean-Louis Trintignant), has just sacked his secretary, Barbara Becker (played just as brilliantly by the handsome Fanny Ardant), for impertinence when he becomes the prime suspect in a series of murders and has to hide, leaving Becker, who secretly loves him, to launch her inquiries – in parallel to the police inquiries, bien naturellement. At one level, this is Agatha Christie/Georges Simenon territory, with obvious motives undermined by subsequent events and, of course, the murderer is never, ever who you think it is. It reminded me of John Huston’s penultimate film, Prizzi’s Honour. The feel-good factor is high and for good measure Truffaut eggs his pudding with some slapstick; for example, the real culprit (impishly played by Philippe Laudenbach) is so distracted by his impending doom that he ends up smoking two cigarettes at once. But then the real motive is revealed – almost as an aside – and undermines the whole cosy, heterosexual consensus that the film has so far cheerfully portrayed. It was just by coincidence that we watched Vivement Dimanche the day after The Tenant, but these films explore the same fragile territory via different genres. For both Polanski’s tenant and Truffaut’s lawyer (Laudenbach) are cross-dressing paranoids whose comfort comes from pretending to be what they are not and cannot be. Maybe, just maybe, Polanski and Truffaut were genuflecting, in their different ways, before Hitchcock’s Psycho?

2 Comments

  1. Olivier Grinnaert

    16/07/2013 at 18:18

    Hello,

    I’m a film critic myself, follow the link to read my french language review of Monsters Academy:
    http://www.lepasseurcritique.com/critique-film/monstres-academy.html

    I am working with an association called Loupiote, we are working for education to medias.

    I am also a filmmaker and with Loupiote, I go to schools iun order to make short pictures with the students. We also organize “Les Samedi Du Ciné” at the Vendôme Cinema.

    We received some money from the International Youth Office in order to make a short film about Europe.

    We thought about making something with a little girl as main character. A little girl who wants to speak to the King Of Europe. So she will meet lots of people and we also want her to meet Willy Hélin (so here’s the lkink between us).

    We know Mister Hélin is struggling for a better Education to Euroe Institutions and we thought he would be the right person for our little girl to meet.

    If you have his number and/or e-mail, that would be very kind to you to send them to me. If you don’t want to, please tell him to join Olivier, from Loupiote: 04 84 052 065 ou ogrinnaert@gmail.com.

    My name is Olivier Grinnaert, i am not joking, i am not a spam, you can google me and find lots of stuff which proves i am not making a fool of you.

    Have a nice summer.

    OMG this is such a bottle in the ocean.

  2. Martin

    17/07/2013 at 22:52

    Hi, Olivier, and thank you for writing to me. I have forwarded your message to Willy. I am sure he’ll be in touch. Best wishes, Martin

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