REVIEW BY DAVE SMITH
Sydney Pollack came back to his native state recently (born in
Lafayette, raised in South Bend) to show his film Sketches of Frank Gehry. After the film, he answered questions from
the audience and talked about what he was doing. He mentioned that he likes to get involved in helping people get their films
produced. Sometimes he is the producer and other times he paves the way. Avenue Montaigne is one of those films. Pollock
is not the producer, but he does have a substantial part in the film. Surely his clout helped get this film made.
Avenue Montaigne was written and directed by Daniele Thompson. Thompson's son, Christopher Thompson was co-writer and
has an important part in the film. This is not exactly a "piece of fluff," but it is close to it. It is mostly a series of
character studies. Cecile De France, who plays young Jessica, ties the whole film together. She decides to go to Paris and
try to hob nob with the rich and famous. She gets a job as a waitress in a bar next to a theater. This way she is able to
meet several fascinating people.
A concert pianist, played by Albert Dupontel, is tired of playing for his rich clientele.
He is tired of wearing a stuffy, hot tuxedo. He'd rather play for those who know little or nothing about music. His wife, however,
tries to keep him on the concert tour. Claude Brasseur is an art dealer who has collected paintings for many years. Now
that his wife has died, he no longer has any interest in keeping his collection and decides to sell out. His son, played
by Christopher Thompson, does not agree with his father's decision. A soap opera superstar, played by Valerie Lemercier, is
a neurotic bundle of nerves who has her own ideas about every role she plays and every line she speaks. Ms. Lemercier virtually
steals this movie. Her intensity and nutty personality are a marvel to watch.
Pollack plays a well known movie director who
is searching for a leading lady for his next movie. He stumbles upon Lemercier and is enchanted. In addition to some very good
performances, there are some wonderful scenes of Paris. Yes, there are subtitles but so what? They are no hindrance at all.
This is an entertaining movie with a variety of plots and characters. It moves well.