Too many French imports to reach our shores seem cut from the same thin but brightly colored cloth, and this eccentric comedy romance is no exception. As an incidental entertainment it has charm to spare but little depth or ambition, and is just as easy to enjoy as it is to ignore. The film benefits from the combined talents of its two photogenic stars: Auteuil plays a wealthy but disinterested heir to a supermarket kingdom who drifts through life completely unconcerned with either his fortune or his high social standing, until he meets demure maidservant Sandrine Bonnaire. With typical nonchalance he gives her everything she could possibly ask for, including her freedom, and being French she accepts it all with a fatalistic shrug of the shoulders. Because it changes pace and direction with such carefree abandon the film isn't easily pigeonholed, but it's hard not to recommend a story with such a casual attitude toward love and life.
A Few Days with Me
Comedy / Drama / Romance
A Few Days with Me
Comedy / Drama / Romance
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Martial's mother owns a chain of supermarkets. He had spent some years in a mental hospital because of pervasive indolence. Hoping that an active task may improve his condition, he is sent to inspect one of the supermarkets. The manager had taken a large loan of money belonging to the firm. When exposed he expects to lose his job. Instead friendship develops between him and Martial who remitted the debt. A sexual relation begins between Francine and Martial, without jealousy from her boyfriend Fernand. Suddenly Martial disappears. He was called to his mother's sickbed. Francine took a job as a waitress. It is not clear if she understood that the owner of the bar would force her to do sexual services for some customers. To save Francine Fernand kills the owner. The only witness is Martial who says 'Run! Do you want to spend ten years in prison!' If he takes the murder on him, he will just return to the luxury hospital he recently came from. Only Francine saw a glimpse of Fernand and understood what really happened. The double sacrifice radically changed her emotions: she came to feel for Fernand as for an older brother and they parted.
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a nonchalant trifle
An Entirely Modern Cinéma Noir Movie
This is Claude Sautet's most underrated movie. I (an intensive film enthusiast since pre-school age) even think it is the best movie produced in any country during the 1980s. - The French cinéma-noir period gave rise to many famous works of art. The period ended around the middle 1950s. I feel that 'Quelques jours avec moi' is the most authentic heir to the cinéma noir trend. It is not a contradiction that it is at the same time an altogether modern movie, with plot, situations, characters and interactions which were perfectly realistic in the world of the late 1980s. Moreover, happy and funny scenes may well have a natural place in a modern film with such a dark heritage. - There are five main persons in the plot: the girl, her boyfriend, the rich boy, the pimp, and the manager of a supermarket. The mother of the rich boy owns a chain of supermarkets. Her son had spent some years in a mental hospital because of pervasive indolence. Hoping that an active task may improve his condition, his mother sends him to inspect one of the supermarkets. - In the town where most of the movie takes place it turns out that the manager has taken a large loan of money belonging to the firm, and has never been able to pay it back. When exposed, he expects to lose his job. But instead friendship develops between the boy and the much older manager, and the boy remits the debt entirely. Their friendship might have consequence for certain later events. - It is difficult to provide a true and fair explanation as to why the rich boy and the girl develop a sexual relation. He is more attracted by her personality than by her body. If he is indolent, she is not. - One night when she is a little drunk he lets her sleep in his apartment, but makes no attempt at seducing her. However, during the night she comes to him - perhaps because of gratitude. - No jealousy develops between the rich boy and the boyfriend, although both share the same girl. - But then the girl makes a serious mistake. She understands that the rich boy will soon leave the town, and she wants economic independence. She gets herself a job as a waitress - although the job is combined with limited duties as a prostitute. The young owner of the bar is the pimp. - To save the girl, the boyfriend kills the pimp with a knife. The only witness is the rich boy. He says 'Run! Do you want to spend ten years in prison!' He is well aware that to him the consequences will be much less severe. He stands in silence next to the corpse with the knife in his hands, until other people arrive - among them the manager and the girl. She is the only one who saw a glimpse of the boyfriend and, hence, understood what really had happened. But she keeps silent. And the manager's words may have strong weight. To the judge it is a simple case. There will be no trial, and the rich boy will just return to the luxury hospital he recently came from, probably even without any legal decision about confinement to the hospital. - The double sacrifice has radically changed the girl's emotions. Now her relation to her boyfriend is rather like feelings for an older brother, and they part. She does make a visit to the hospital, seeing the rich boy. But she does not contact him, and he never learns that she was there. - It is a recurrent theme in many French movies that friendship between two male friends will not break, although both are in love with the same girl. The frequency of this pattern may well derive from Bizet's opera 'Les pêcheurs de perles'. Sautet repeated the same theme in his next movie, 'Un coeur en hiver'. But I cannot help feeling that the latter is markedly inferior. Admittedly, in 'Un coeur en hiver' the constellations and emotions are well painted. But there is little sophistication as regards the plot, the situations, the characters etc. - Sandrine Bonnaire and Daniel Auteuil are well chosen for the two most important parts, and here they show more than usual proficiency in displaying the 'invisible' feelings behind their words and actions.
One of Sautet's best
In this age of giant corporations fighting for our dollars, and sometimes falling like dinosaurs in the forest, it is refreshing to find this French comedy about a chain store scion Martial Pasquier (Daniel Auteuil),who gives way to his impulses and starts a doomed affair with a waitress who supplements her wages with casual prostitution, Francine (Sandrine Bonnaire). Martial's fragile mental state is glossed over--thankfully--so that Sautet can give us some satirical portraits of businessmen without many scruples. Jean-Pierre Marielle's portrayal of Fonfrin, the district manager who has been dipping into the till is worth the time and cost of finding this film. It is a wonderful performance.
Sautet always had a problem, as I saw it, of larding his scripts with too many characters who had their own narratives, which had to be developed at the expense of the story. Max and Georgette have a fair bit of screen time, yet we are not interested in them in the slightest, nor in Martial's mother's hypochondria, nor in the absurd couple who show up at the party dressed as Robin Hood and Marion. The party scene actually works well, because there is enough comic invention to keep the wheels turning briskly. Vincent Lindon plays Fernand, one angle of the love triangle, and he is effective even though his part is not well developed. Sandrine Bonnaire's tremendous talent could have been more fully used, but I am happy with what there is on screen. Daniel Auteuil shows us once again that he is one of the great actors of today: he is almost as good here as he is in Sautet's next picture Un coeur en hiver.