Now Ladies and Gentlemen”
Produced and directed by Claude Lelouch
Written by Claudee Lelouch, Pierre Leroux and Pierre Uytterhoeven
Starring Jeremy Irons, Patricia Kaas, Thierry Lhermitte,
Alessandra Martines, Claudia Cardinale, Jean-Marie Bigard, Ticky
Holdago, Yvan Attal and Amidou
Opens Friday at the Broadway
"And Now Ladies and
Gentlemen" is about two short term amnesiacs whose lives collide
in a Moroccan village. It’s nostalgic for the days of films
about destiny and love and fate, when mystic cultures could cure
diseases and characters were thrown into love while reciting old
philosophy about the feeling.
It’s common territory for writer/director Claude Lelouch,
who was pretty much playing around making the film, resulting in
an inoffensive movie that’s fun to watch, although there isn’t
much to it.
The most interesting parts of the film involve the crimes of its
hero, Valentin Valentin (Jeremy Irons). While most films with robberies
involve countless gunshots or high-tech gadgets, his crimes are
creative solutions to not having the team of experts that one expects
from a caper.
Valentin is introduced flashing a police badge and telling a jewelry
store owner that his store is going to be robbed in the next three
hours, but that the police have the street blocked off and will
arrest the famed burglar once he gets outside with the jewels in
his hands. This of course, makes the manager more than happy to
cooperate when the old man enters the store alone.
Valentin is leaving his wife (Allessandra Martines), whom he met
during a robbery, to go on a 100-day trip sailing around the world
on a race boat, partly as an attempt to run away from the frequent
blackouts that he’s been experiencing. One minute he’s
perfectly coherent, the next he doesn’t know where he is or
what he’s doing.
Jane (Patricia Kaas), a singer, has the same problem, which she
discovers when the police pull her over because she’s been
driving around a roundabout for five minutes. She was on her way
to a meeting to find out that the trumpet player in her trio was
in love with the group’s other singer (who, the film pointlessly
points out a few times, is black).
Faced with memory loss while singing, she resorts to cruise gigs
and eventually ends up in a hotel in Fez, where Valentin travels
to see a doctor after drifting into Morocco when passed out on his
During his blackouts, Valentin has flashbacks to some of his more
interesting crimes, but also has fantasies about paying back the
people whom he robbed.
The film is a bit hazy on whatever trivial points it’s trying
to make about love, but Lelouch creates a nice style for the film,
sometimes briefly going into black and white to create the feeling
the characters get coming out of a blackout.
The romance that formulates between Jane and Valentin and the conundrum
that develops after a jewel robbery that, if Valentin committed,
he doesn’t know about, make the film interesting viewing,
even if it’s endearingly out of touch with this millennium.