It wasn't supposed to be like this, but Finally Sunday!, a lightweight entertainment that followed The Last Metro's dazzling success, would be Francois Truffaut's swansong. A couple of months after it came out, he was dead.

In the style of his second film, Shoot The Pianist, it is based on an American pulp thriller (The Long Saturday Night by Charles Williams) and shot in black-and-white. Although the plot is faintly ludicrous and barely credible, Truffaut's fascination with Hitchcock is evident throughout. As a vehicle for his girlfriend Fanny Ardant, it has an affectionate ambiance and never takes itself too seriously.

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One morning at dawn, out in the wetlands of Southern France, estate agent Julien Vercel (Jean-Louis Trintignant) crouches in a hide, anticipating the arrival of wild duck. After a while he packs it in and returns to his car and drives off. Meanwhile someone else, looking suspiciously like Vercel, blasts another shooter in another hide in the face. Confused? Don't be. Truffaut is paying homage to Hitch as events continue in a similar vein, mocking convention and poking fun at the provincial police.

Although designed in a B-movie mould, with classical film noir touches, this has the advantage of a relaxed Truffaut, a glamorous Ardant and an intense Trintignant. Rather than follow the expected route of murderer and moll on the run, the script reverses gender roles and Ardant becomes the leading player in an ever-deepening mystery. By the end five bodies bite the dust/mud/tarmac/carpet.

Ardant plays Barbara, Vercel's secretary, who volunteers to act as amateur detective to clear his name, while he hides out in the office. The man Vercel killed in the swamp was his wife's lover. When his wife ends up battered to death in her bedroom, he realises there must be more to this than meets the eye, or the wrong end of his 12-bore.

Nothing really adds up, but does that matter when everyone is having fun, exercising their mental muscles on an intricate whodunit?

Reviewed on: 18 Oct 2006
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Murder mystery involving an estate agent and his secretary in the South of France.
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Director: François Truffaut

Writer: Jean Aurel, Suzanne Schiffman, Fran├žois Truffaut, based on The Long Saturday Night by Charles Williams

Starring: Fanny Ardant, Jean-Louis Trintignant, Philippe Laudenbach, Philippe Morier-Genoup, Xavier Saint-Macary, Caroline Sihol, Jean-Pierre Kalfon, Jean-Louis Richard

Year: 1983

Runtime: 110 minutes

BBFC: PG - Parental Guidance

Country: France


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