Veteran French director Claude Lelouch’s newest film, “And
Now… Ladies and Gentlemen,” proves there are a few reasons left
to like the French. Lelouch sneaks in a globetrotting gem of a
movie with an exotic set of locales and an incredible cast.

Janna Hutz
Is that a picture of Mulder in a Speedo? (Courtesy of Canal +)

Valentin, played effortlessly by Jeremy Irons, is a debonair
English jewel thief (what other type is there) and Jane Lester, a
troubadour nightclub singer played by the stunning Patricia Kass,
are inextricably linked by the desire to escape withering
relationships and intense memory blackouts. Their paths cross when
a set of bar dates coincide with Valentin’s yacht crash in Morocco.
Suffering from the same medical condition, momentary amnesia, they
find solace in each other.

This film is distinctly French with its character-driven focus
and attention to nuance, all while luring you into complacency with
its beautiful jazz score. With the use of a cut narrative,
flashbacks in muted tones, indistinct dream sequences and the
fading to black and white to illustrate memory blackouts, this film
demands an awareness rarely required in American cinema.

Using their states of amnesia as a tool to free the characters
from their pasts and begin anew as well as have them black out at
moments of extreme drama may appear as a bargain basement means to
generate suspense, but it succeeds in creating the dreamlike and
fluid style this film demands.

At times, the movie meanders to its destination, with an
overindulgence for the beautiful milieus and admittedly incredible
cinematography over meaningful development. The characters’ slow
banter hampers the flow in a few instances. Detractions aside, this
film stands as unique in tone, skeptical yet romantic, and as a
poem to life. Lelouch’s love of this world is infectious and
illustrates a dream-like ideal of redemption, romanticism, and
humanism all with a fine elegance.

Rating: 4 stars

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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