Produced by Jean-Philippe Reza.
Directed by Didier Martiny. Screenplay, Yasmina Reza. Camera (color), Francois Catonne; editor, Joelle van Effenterre; music, extracts from Schumann and J.S. Bach; art director, Jean-Pierre Kohut Svelko; costume designer, Christian Gasc. Reviewed at L’Arlequin, Paris, Feb. 29, 2000. Original title: Le pique-nique de Lulu Kreutz. Running time: 100 MIN.
With: Philippe Noiret, Carole Bouquet, Niels Arestrup, Stephane Audran, Michel Aumont, Judith Magre, Johan Leysen.
Regret, love, kindness and spite all get strenuous, theatrical workouts in “Lulu Kreutz’s Picnic.” Penned by playwright Yasmina Reza (“Art”), this frequently stagy, two-day extravaganza of speechifying and aphorism-spouting about romance and memory is noteworthy mostly for its well-known cast of over-40 Eurothesps acting up a storm in gorgeous mountain settings. Fests and tube dates are in order.
Joseph and Olga Steg (Philippe Noiret, Judith Magre), who are elderly Parisians of Viennese Jewish extraction, come to luxurious Evian with Olga’s brother Michel Mazelsky (Michel Aumont) to hear their son, virtuoso cellist Jascha (Niels Arestrup), perform. Jascha is lovesick over violinist Anna Ghirardi (Carole Bouquet), with whom he had a brief affair a year ago, although she’s happily married to naturalist Primo (Johan Leysen), also in Evian. The elder Stegs look up Lulu Kreutz (Stephane Audran), a sweetheart of Joseph’s from before World War II, and Lulu initiates a group hike and picnic that’s peppered with personal confessions and mini-showdowns. Dripping angst and intensity as the lovelorn cellist, Arestrup appears to be channeling the late Klaus Kinski.