The challenge: watch my first French movie without the benefit of English subtitles in 10 years. Can it be done?? Ya do what ya gotta do when you want to watch something badly enough, and I did have the assist of French subs which proved invaluable. The reason for this preface is… More The challenge: watch my first French movie without the benefit of English subtitles in 10 years. Can it be done?? Ya do what ya gotta do when you want to watch something badly enough, and I did have the assist of French subs which proved invaluable. The reason for this preface is so you know where I'm coming from - I did not follow every word spoken but still managed to understand 70-80% (proud of myself there) of the dialogue and follow 97% of the story.
<i>On The Left After Exiting The Elevator</i> refers to the apartment inhabited by sheltered artist Yann, played by French comedy legend Pierre Richard who when I was a kid was known by me as "the guy with the hair" for his Harpo-like locks. He has a hidden passion for married socialite Fanny Cottencon and invites her to see his studio but picked the absolute wrong time as volatile neighbor Richard Bohringer has a violent argument with his wife Emmanuelle Beart. A zany two-set apartment farce ensues involving <i>Three's Company</i>-style misunderstandings, a vintage war pistol and a pistol replica cigarette lighter, unexpected visitors, people dangling precariously from balconies, police interventions, and slamming doors which happen so often they even get a credit!
The first hour of this madness is very funny stuff, Richard has terrific comic timing both physically and verbally - a scene where he is tryng to explain a gunshot to the police but continuously confuses the details is a hoot. Beart is breathtakingly beautiful and has a knack for comedy herself, too bad she didn't pursue more opportunities. The last 20-30 minutes turn slightly more serious and is more intent on resolving the complications which isn't completely satisfactory. By that point my head was spinning a little from trying to keep up with the language so I may have missed a point or two.