Opening 27 Nov 2008
Just a couple of years after The Children of Monsieur Mathieu, Gérard Jugnot stars again in a film directed by Christophe Barratier. It takes place in 1936, a time of political unrest in pre-World War II Paris. The "Popular Front" has been elected and strikes abound. Three show biz friends have lost their jobs in the Chansonia variety theater when a gangster closes the place. The emotional Pigoil (Jugnot) is devastated because his wife leaves him and gets custody of his son Jojo. Milou (Clovis Cornillac) is a young dandy who enjoys life to the fullest besides being very bound up in politics – embracing communist ideas. And there is entertainer Jacky played by Kad Merad.
The three have the idea to "occupy" the theater and it comes to life again with mysterious Douce (Nora Arnezeder), a young singer of chansons who has come to Paris to seek her fame. Unfortunately, the gangster owner of Chansonia becomes so pushy with his advances that Douce leaves Paris and, without her, the theater again fails. Fortunately, it is at this point of the story that Monsieur Radio (Pierre Richard) who has not left his house in 20 years hears Douce singing on the radio. He realizes that there must be a connection between Douce and his long-ago protegée. Monsieur Radio decides to forget his hibernation and write songs for Douce and conduct the orchestra at the NEW Chansonia. The musical Faubourgh 36 (the French title of the film) is an instant hit.
So, if you would like a good, old-fashioned movie that shows passion for theater and politics, the camaraderie of theater folk, the love of a father and his son, and more, this is the movie for you. The chansons are also wonderful. (Thelma Freedman)