A look at Folies Bergere (M)….
BREEDING Charolais cattle in the delightful green vales of Normandy isn’t quite cutting it for Brigitte as winter starts to close in.
Crusty husband Xavier (Jean-Pierre Darroussin) is prosperous and although they enjoy a comfortable lifestyle Brigitte (Isabelle Huppert) hankers for something a tad more exciting.
When a neighbour’s daughter throws a party she meets 30-something Stan (Pio Mamai) who starts flirting with her as soon as they meet.
When he departs the countryside for Paris, Brigitte thinks a little rendezvous in the City of Light could ignite the spark she’s been seeking.
So making an excuse to Xavier about a medical appointment, she heads off for a three-day stay in Paris.
Son Gregoire (Clement Metayer) is living there as he’s a circus acrobat so Brigitte can also use a familial visit as a sort of smokescreen, if needed.
Dinner with a sister-in-law has been previously arranged, but who should also be seated nearby but a Danish periodontist who’s living upstairs from her in the same inner-city Parisian hotel.
Jesper (Mikael Nyqvist) is in Paris for a conference but also looking for a spark of his own.
After dinner, he takes Brigitte on a ferris wheel ride, a ride which almost spells the end of the just-formed romantic relationship when she has a panic attack.
They manage to overcome this hiccup although French director Marc Fitoussi hasn’t finished with husband Xavier just yet.
He also visits Paris and calls in on the circus training arena. Xavier watches Gregoire in practice as the young man gives a breath-taking demonstration of his acrobatic skills.
Xavier’s earlier disappointment that his son hasn’t sought a more mainstream form of employment evaporates as he watches, wide-eyed, from his seat.
And, yes, Xavier does observe Brigitte a couple of times from the Parisian shadows although never once revealing himself to his wife.
Fitoussi is too fine a director to leave us with the ends all neatly tied up so if, like me, you’re an Isabelle Huppert tragic you’ll love this little French film.