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Tomorrow’s Another Day

Billing itself on the main titles as "a fantasia by Jeanne Labrune," "Tomorrow Is Another Day" is one working week in the lives of a group of Parisiens whose tenuous grip on normality is only a hair's breadth away from total disintegration. Essentially a screwball comedy, but played with the screws tightly wound, "Tomorrow" isn't as funny as it thinks it is (or could be), but is worth the price of admission for its fine cast of distaffers of all ages going smoothly through their paces. Moderate rather than strong offshore sales look likely.

With:
With: Nathalie Baye, Jeanne Balibar, Jean-Pierre Darroussin, Danielle Darrieux, Isabelle Carre, Didier Bezace, Sophie Guillemin, Nathalie Besancon.

Billing itself on the main titles as “a fantasia by Jeanne Labrune,” “Tomorrow Is Another Day” is one working week in the lives of a group of Parisiens whose tenuous grip on normality is only a hair’s breadth away from total disintegration. Essentially a screwball comedy, but played with the screws tightly wound, “Tomorrow” isn’t as funny as it thinks it is (or could be), but is worth the price of admission for its fine cast of distaffers of all ages going smoothly through their paces. Moderate rather than strong offshore sales look likely.

Pic starts like a dominoer, with two girls, Annie (Sophie Guillemin) and Marie (Isabelle Carre), bumping into a pickpocket in the metro; Marie visiting her mom, Elisabeth (Jeanne Balibar), who wants to store some furniture, and recommending plastic rather than paper sheets; Elisabeth meeting highly-strung bourgeoisie Sophie (Nathalie Baye), who’s on the same errand in a hardware store; Sophie rowing with hubby Xavier (Jean-Pierre Darroussin) in the car home and leaving him to dine out alone; Xavier falling in with a henpecked friend, Franck (Didier Bezace), in a bistro; and Franck, back home, being nagged by his wife, Celine (Nathalie Besancon), about eating fattening foods.

In fact, it’s just an effective device to intro the main characters on the first day (“Monday: Shock Wave”), with Labrune then free to mix and match their fortunes over the next four. Franck makes a pass at Sophie and — in one of the film’s most squirmingly funny scenes — later faces Sophie and Xavier’s polite comments over his set designs for a new play.

Sophie sells Elisabeth a piece of furniture and later feel she has to make amends for giving her the social brush-off. And Elisabeth gets advice on an ongoing curtain problem from a feisty old woman (vet Danielle Darrieux in lively form) she meets while shopping.

Using deliberately inconsequential events to show how the characters endlessly fret over the minutiae of life, Labrune — better known for more serious fare — cheekily leaves the pic open ended, like a symphony that suddenly stops halfway through the last movement. (Last section is just a title, “…/…”) As a result, it’s a film of incidental, rather than rounded, pleasures, with most of them coming from the performances.

In the only major male role, Darroussin holds his own in the absurdly comic role — played totally straight — of a man with two separate careers (shrink and chiropractor), under different names, in the same office.

Baye, on a fresh career roll in middle age, is splendid as his tightly wound wife who’s not averse to a bout of sex whenever Xavier drops his trousers; and Balibar, with the meatiest role, is the most sympathetic as a grounded, working woman.

Tech credits are bright and sharp throughout.

Tomorrow's Another Day

France

Production: A Bac Films release of a Cine Valse, Art Light Prods., France 2 Cinema production, in association with Le Studio Canal. (International sales: Studio Canal Plus, Paris.) Produced by Alain Sarde. Executive producer, Nicole Bechet. Directed, written by Jeanne Labrune.

Crew: Camera (color), Jean-Claude Thibaut; editor, Guy Lecorne; music, Bruno Fontaine; art director, Emile Ghigo; costumes, Anne Schotte; sound (DTS Digital), Eric Devulder, Eric Tisserand; assistant director, James Canal. Reviewed at Locarno Film Festival (non-competing), Aug. 7, 2000. Running time: 90 MIN.

With: With: Nathalie Baye, Jeanne Balibar, Jean-Pierre Darroussin, Danielle Darrieux, Isabelle Carre, Didier Bezace, Sophie Guillemin, Nathalie Besancon.

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