Mary Poppins Returns
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All Critics (5)
| Fresh (5)
| Rotten (0)
Few people can argue either the rightness of reviving M. Jacques Feyder's [Carnival in Flanders], an enchanting film if there ever was one.
The mock-heroic bagatelle, a risqué undertaking at the time, still shines today with its shrewd commentary on human nature.
"Carnival in Flanders" is an overlooked French comedy that probably would seem quite dated today, if not for it being set in a past era (the 1600's) when a bit of mustiness feels appropriate. But, more importantly, the film's take on sexuality and gender politics is surprisingly ribald and contemporary. A small Belgian town expects a visitation from a potentially brutal Spanish troop, and the local male figureheads can't figure out anything to do but hide. The burgermeister even decides to fake his own death (with plenty of amusing consequences). Left to their own devices, the women hatch their own scheme, which amounts to disarming the invaders with food, flirtation and sex. It's a shock to see a 1930s movie depicting a woman hopping from room to room to seduce a parade of near-strangers, and the sly suggestion of a homosexual soldier who would rather do needlepoint is hilarious. There are even flashes of bare breasts. The rousing score and wonderful costumes are a bonus -- the only substantial flaw is that modern Hollywood protocol makes us anticipate the "bad guys" being made to look like grand fools. This satisfying humiliation never occurs. In fact, the twist is that the refined Spaniards turn out to be better men than the cowardly neighborhood boors. Still, "Flanders" is an accessible, delightful film that, along the way, manages to draw some obvious parallels with the growing threat of Nazism.
wonderful costume comedy
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