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CANNES 2005 Directors’ Fortnight

Travaux, on sait quand ça commence... : A lively comedy


After Outremer (winner 1990 at the Critic’s Week) and Post Coïtum animal triste (presented in the section Un Certain Regard in 1997), Brigitte Roüan comes back on the Croisette with a comedy which is almost a musical, Travaux on sait quand ça commence... [+see also:
film profile
, starring a fantastically eloquent Carole Bouquet.

Chantal Letellier is a lawyer whose beauty won her many trials. Her latest client is so grateful that he nearly demonstrates in front of her office until she accepts to be taken out for dinner. The dinner turns into a drinking night and eventually, he spends the night at her place. In the morning, he is still there, happier than ever, and very keen on staying forever. In order to get rid of him, Chantal decides to start renovating the flat she shares with her two children. Since she loves helping immigrants, she hires an architect from Colombia for whom she has just obtained a visa. A team of illegal workers start settling in...

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‘I use my personal life to make films,’ Brigitte Roüan explains. 'I have been living in the same place for over twenty years. In the beginning, I just had a small room, but I gradually bought all the adjoining rooms to make it a proper flat, so I know all about renovating a house and collected many anecdotes. What happens when you have works done at your place is actually funny when you think about it years after, funny enough to turn it into a movie.’

In this comedy, the French director manages to deal both with the theme of the annoying lover and the more serious subject of immigration. The flat, full of original characters, is like the microcosm of a multicultural society. This very derisive film shows Carole Bouquet in an unusual role: now and again, she flies into a dance, like a modern Cyd Charisse —in Singing in the Rain.

This film was produced by late Humbert Balsan. ‘When he died, I lost someone I really loved, says Brigitte Roüan. It is as if the sun had gone down on me and independent cinema in general. The freedom to create comes at a price which has become ridiculously high —it’s like real estate. Humbert was a patchwork, he had a vision, he was panasonic too, and he knew cinema like the back of his hand.’ This wholly French film was produced by Ognon Pictures, Arte France Cinéma, Augustine Pictures, Canal+, Ciné Cinéma, Gimages 6, Millifin, and the Procirep. Distribution and international sales are handled by Pyramide.

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(Translated from French)

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