Review: ‘Chacun Pour Toi’

Also with: Pamela Knaack, Jean Rougerie, Laurent Gamelon, Frank Lapersonne, Marc Andreoni, Roxiane, Milan Dvorak.

Also with: Pamela Knaack, Jean Rougerie, Laurent Gamelon, Frank Lapersonne, Marc Andreoni, Roxiane, Milan Dvorak.

(French, German, Czech and English dialogue)

The fanciful tale of a grizzled hairdresser and the surrogate son he fishes out of a Paris canal, “Chacun pour Toi” sports a delightfully kitsch demeanor and boasts a lovable cast of flamboyant, offbeat characters. Stylish enterprise is an upbeat fest item with possible arthouse potential.

This buoyant buddy film offers an idealized Paris neighborhood full of good-hearted citizens. There’s legendary but morose hairdresser Georges (Jean Yanne, in a rock-solid, understated perf), who owns signed photos of Grace Kelly , Ava Gardner and other beauties he once styled; a roly-poly butcher (Roland Blanche) who can’t resist mile-high hair on his mistress (Michele Laroque); and a customer who thinks his remaining strands can be convincingly combed over his forehead.

When Georges jumps into a canal to rescue recently jilted plumber Gus (Albert Dupontel) but ends up being rescued himself, it’s a soggy start to a beautiful comic friendship in which two defeated men convert resignation into hope.

Georges leads Gus on a tour of the Louvre in which he critiques famous canvases for their hairstyles. He also bawls out a necking couple, declaring that public displays of affection are disheartening for others.

When a colleague breaks his arm, Georges reluctantly agrees to represent France (assisted by Gus) in the World Hairdressing Championships, held in the Czech Republic. Pic goes practically psychedelic here, with obsessed tress-tweakers whose creations include an Eiffel Tower, a battleship and a burning building.

Certain characterizations on the pic’s periphery (two feuding gay hairdressers, a vulgar American femme stylist) will be too broad for some tastes , but this sweet-spirited third feature from prolific playwright Jean-Michel Ribes is as refreshing and appealing as its protagonists.

Philippe Chatel’s jaunty score reinforces the far-fetched proceedings. And with his dark, chiseled good looks and slightly spooked gaze, Dupontel recalls a Gallic Monty Clift.

Chacun Pour Toi

(FRENCH-GERMAN-CZECH)

Production

A Pan-Europeene release of a MACT Prods., Studio Canal Plus, SFP Cinema, Saris/Lichtblick Produktion/Wega Film production, with participation of Canal Plus/Sofinergie 1 & 2/Cofimage 4/Eurimages. Produced by Antoine and Martine Clermont-Tonnarre. Executive co-producers, Michel Nicolini, Helga Bahr. Directed by Jean-Michel Ribes. Screenplay, Philippe Madral, Ribes.

Crew

Camera (color), Bernard Dechet, Jean-Paul Meurisse; editor, Olivier Mauffroy; music, Philippe Chatel; art direction, Richard Cunin, Ludvik Siroky; costume design, Juliette Chanaud; sound, Eric Tisserand; hair design, Ghislaine Tortereau; artistic adviser, Dieter Flimm; assistant director, Florence Strauss. Reviewed at MGM/Cannon screening room, Paris, Jan. 6, 1994. Running time: 101 MIN.

With

Georges Flavier ... Jean Yanne Gus ... Albert Dupontel Roland ... Roland Blanche Fernande ... Michele Laroque Louisa ... Catherine Arditi Botha ... Heinz Schubert
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