Eye For Film >> Movies >> La Femme De Rio (2013) Film Review
La Femme De Rio
Reviewed by: Amber Wilkinson
Role play becomes droll play for writer/directors Emma Luchini and Nicolas Rey in La Femme De Rio, which showed alongside Luchini's feature My Men as part of the French Film Festival UK. It was an appropriate combination as its main character Gabriel (played by Rey) is, in many ways, another incarnation of the not-so-recovering alcoholic Martin who appears in the feature (also co-written by Rey, adapting from his own novel).
Gabriel is trying to make a new start, or at least finish with what has gone before, although his apartment indicates things aren't going so well. Furniture is still swathed in protective wrapping, as though he doesn't have the heart to fully embrace it, while his phone answer message slyly suggests that being on the wagon could just be a momentary hiatus. His fridge, meanwhile, is stuffed with the remains of a dozen sushi meals, which he picks at alone with a knife and fork.
As if that wasn't bad enough, there's a raging party going on next door and his agent is desperately trying to pry him from his flat. Stepping out to see what all of the fuss is about, he discovers a forgotten phone on the landing of his apartment block and takes it inside, little realising that he will soon be embarking on a meet-cute with its owner Audrey (Céline Sallette). She won't take 'I'm out' for an answer and, on being let into his home, suggests a whirlwind romance - complete with children - as the two of them, chastely, fast-forward through the steps of a relationship over the course of a few hours.
It's a novel idea and Luchini and Rey have a knack for making what might sound absurd seem entirely natural to their two protagonists. The surface is funny but, as with all good comedy, there are more profound ideas about embracing change and accepting circumstances going on under the surface. The chemistry between Rey and Sallette is also spot on, offering the spark of new possibilities. The film won the Cesar for best short in France - catch it if you can.Reviewed on: 11 Nov 2016