“La Belle Epoque” (M) ****
HOW would you like to experience living in a time past of your choice?
That’s the underlying premise of this zany, entertaining, puzzling French movie that’s sometimes comedy, other times drama. The second film written and directed by Nicolas Bedos delivers all those elements at breakneck speed, sometimes confusing, never disappointing.
Antoine (Guillaume Canet, who wrote and directed “We’ll End Up Together” which opened here on August 6) has a way to separate wealthy people from memories they’d prefer to forget.
For a big bunch of money, he will engage actors and wardrobe masters and stage technicians to recreate the past in La Belle Epoque restaurant.
The internet is eroding the professional comfort zone of artist Victor (Daniel Auteuil) whose wife Marianne (Fanny Ardant) detests him and loses no opportunity to remind him so. Victor asks Antoine to take him back to the 1970s, when the sexual revolution had achieved a measure of stability and Victor met Margot (Doria Tillier) the love of his life. Antoine’s response forms the principal body of the film.
It’s fun. The actors playing the four principal characters are great and so are those whom Antoine engages to deliver the time shift. The story’s sometimes bitty flow turns out not to be so much a defect as an affectionate challenge to the audience to keep up with what Bedos is inviting us to enjoy.
At Dendy and Palace Electric