Wednesday, January 19, 2011
Olivier Ducastel & Jacques Martineau - Crustacés et coquillages aka Cockles and Muscles (2005)
For summer vacation, Marc and Béatrix take their two kids to the seaside house of Marc's youth, where their daughter takes up with a biker and their sons roams the beach with his best friend, who is in love with him. Things get steamier when Béatrix's lover Mathieu shows up, and Marc's old flame appears.
Just plain fun. This French semi-farce lends a fresh Mediterranean breeze to the gay film genre. Sexuality issues are discussed with tongue-in-cheek simplicity. Tolerance vs. intolerance. Yet the complexity of human sexual desires is well illustrated in colorful situations and funny plot twists. I believe the French can do a movie like this one well, while Americans would simply fall into a deep trench of camp. Valeria Bruni Tedeschi, who plays the mother of the central family, plays a real character with depth and range of feeling, despite her periodic flights into goofy simplicity. Gilbert Melki, who plays the father, handles his layered character well, with minor camp slippage along the way. American audiences might have some discomfort with age issues in the film, but that has more to do with American ageism and Puritanism than any flaw in this film. Jean-Marc Barr puts in a good performance as the ultimate dream butch daddy, French style. Fun, lite and yet worthwhile. Old Europe still has much to teach Americans about making movies.