Review / ‘Normandy Nude’ (M) *** and a half

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PHILIPPE Le Guay’s comedy/drama set in a Normandy farming community suffering competition from cheaper products coming from other European Union countries has borrowed dramatic elements from many other comedy/dramas – think “The Full Monty”, “Calendar Girls”, people joining forces to deal with external pressures.

But don’t let that put you off it. I watched “Normandy Nude” after seeing two moderately sombre films that didn’t make me smile much less laugh. The froth and bubble diversion of its simplicity made me think about people without whose labour we would have to grow our own food!

When competition drives prices of local produce down and a highway blockade fails to attract help from decision makers elsewhere, things look grim.

Francois Cluzet, always a delight to watch, plays Balbuzard, 15 years mayor in the community to which he is devoted. He may have solved many local issues in his mayoralty, but this one looks like the too-hard basket. But help is at unexpected hand.

Famous photographer Newman (Toby Jones) goes into raptures about a field. He wants to photograph it. Not just the field. His trademark is populating his pictures with large numbers of people wearing no clothes. That’ll get media attention, won’t it?

Out of this basic problem/solution association, Le Guay has confected an affectionate portrait of a community’s strengths and weaknesses. Its credibility may not stand microscopic scrutiny but its charm is undeniable. And its brief nudity is not a whit salacious. As if that would matter in this day and age!

At Palace Electric

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Dougal Macdonald
“CityNews” film reviewer

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