Une chambre en ville (A Room in Town) (1982) - Rotten Tomatoes

Une chambre en ville (A Room in Town) (1982)

Une chambre en ville (A Room in Town)





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In the style of an operetta, like director Jacques Demy's more famous film the Umbrellas of Cherbourg, this melodramatic story is set in Nantes in 1955 and centers around the tragedies of three or four intertwined lives. First, there is the young steel worker (Richard Berry) who is out on strike and has rented a room from an upper-class widow (Danielle Darrieux), a woman in sympathy with the strikers. The blue-collar worker has a girlfriend he finds less and less interesting just as she is more and more pregnant, and their relationship seems fated to end, one way or another. Then there is Edith (Dominique Sanda), the daughter of the widow, married to a wealthy, impotent, skinflint of a merchant caught up in his own neuroses, and, whether for that reason or several others, Edith is a part-time hooker. One evening she shows up in the worker's rented room, wearing a fur coat and nothing else -- and the two share a night of passion. Now mother, daughter, the worker, and the daughter's husband have formed a very unstable chain of relationships, due to snap because at least one link is exceedingly weak. Enhanced by excellent choreography, this film still did poorly at the box office when it was first released. In order to save it and encourage audiences to see it for its own merits, 76 French critics took out an ad in Le Monde to promote the film, and some critics said that if this movie failed, so would all of French cinema. Perhaps it is not surprising then that Chambre En Ville won the French Critics' Prix Méliès in 1982. ~ Eleanor Mannikka, Rovimore
Rating: R
Genre: Drama, Musical & Performing Arts, Art House & International, Comedy
Directed By:
Written By: Jacques Demy
In Theaters:


Danielle Darrieux
as Margot Langlois
Richard Berry
as Francois Guilbaud
Michel Piccoli
as Edmond Leroyer
Fabienne Guyon
as Violette Pelletier
Anna Gaylor
as Madame Pelletier
Show More Cast

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"Une Chambre en Ville" starts with Francois Guilbaud(Richard Berry) returning to his apartment to get the tear gas out of his eyes and clothing after the police forcefully break up a strike march, much to the consternation of Madame Langlois(Danielle Darrieux), his landlady. That bout of ill-will is nothing compared to what she feels for Edith(Dominique Sanda), her daughter-the-shrew(her words, not mine), who arrives for a very rare visit in just a fur coat and shoes, escaping at least for the time being from her impotent and abusive husband(Michel Piccoli), a television repairman. Meanwhile, Francois takes the time to visit with his girlfriend Violette(Fabienne Guyon).

Even though it occasionally contains music that could be considered anachronistic for its setting of 1955, "Une Chambre en Ville" is still an entertaining tragic operetta wherein it feels right for the characters to sing their emotions, considering how heightened they are. On the other hand, it does feel weird for the police to be singing their orders forcefully, although the world would be a better place if they actually did. As far as the melodrama goes, these characters go through more in the two or three days the story takes place than most people do in a lifetime. And then after all of that, the movie just stops.

Walter M.

Super Reviewer

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