A vulgar pastiche of cinema and history that transforms events of WWII into an embarrassing musical comedy-cum-Telenovela-style drama.

Vet cineaste Claude Lelouch has never been famous for subtlety, but he reaches untold levels of kitsch in “Ces amours-la … ,” a vulgar pastiche of cinema and history that transforms events of WWII into an embarrassing musical comedy-cum-Telenovela-style drama. Starring Audrey Dana (“Welcome”) as a woman whose affairs with two Frenchies, two Yanks and one Nazi span several decades, this flawed meditation on life, love and Lelouch’s own filmography (clips included) is definitely not the highlight of his lengthy career. Francophone slots will follow a lackluster local release.

Revisiting the Gaul of his youth, the helmer tracks free-loving Ilva (Dana) as she hops from one bed to another, with neither narrative logic nor emotional pull. Although pic bears similarities to “Inglourious Basterds” (Ilva also works in a movie house), whatever grand ideas Lelouch had in mind are blindsided by several ill-advised scenaristic leaps, including scenes of Jews happily bonding on their way to Auschwitz or indulging in a Charles Trenet song prior to execution. Shot partially in Romania’s MediaPro Studios, the €8 million ($11 million) co-production suffers from budgetary shortcuts and an overall cinematic blandness.

Ces amours-la ...

France-Romania

Production

A Studio 37/Rezo Films (in France) release of a Les Films 13, Les Films du Kiosque, Studio 37, France 3 Cinema, MediaPro Studios production, in association with Soficinema 5 Developpement, with participation of Canal Plus, France 3, CineCinema. (International sales: Kinology, Paris.) Produced by Claude Lelouch, Francois Kraus, Denis Pineau-Valencienne. Executive producer, Jean-Paul de Vidas. Directed by Claude Lelouch. Screenplay, Lelouch, Pierre Uytterhoeven.

Crew

Camera (color, Panavision widescreen), Gerard de Battista, editor, Stephane Mazalaigue; music, Francis Lai, Laurent Couson; production designer, Francois Chauvaud; costume designer, Catherine Gorne-Achdjian. Reviewed at Gaumont Opera 6, Paris, Oct 5, 2010. Running time: 116 MIN.

With

Audrey Dana, Laurent Couson, Raphael, Samuel Labarthe, Jacky Ido, Gilles Lemaire. (French, German, English dialogue)

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