We have written it several times: the strength of a national film industry is not seen so much either by the authoritativeness of auteur cinema or by the success of the more distinctly commercial one, but by the ability to churn out a good number of “average films”, those capable of speaking to everyone while retaining their underlying complexity. In this (but not only) France still remains unsurpassed, not only compared to Italy, but also to the rest of Europe. An example is “The perfumes of Madame Walberg”, which tells the story of Anne Walberg (Emmanuelle Devos), a somewhat haughty and unfriendly woman, with a great reputation in the field of perfumes. Anne produces amazing fragrances which she resells to several high-level companies, but having a hard time being with others, she is often “forced” into solitude. Guillaume Favre (Grégory Montel) is her driver, an open-minded but somewhat clumsy man who divorced his wife. She would like to move into a bigger apartment to be able to share her daughter, and in such a complicated time, for Guillaume the job is the only chance to get it. Anne and Guillaume are very different from each other, they often clash and quarrel, but then they make peace, contaminating each other and mixing their “essence”, just like with perfumes. An intense friendship will gradually arise between the two that will transform them and push them to regain possession of their own lives.

Behind the comedy tone of characters, with the inevitable rapprochement between a man and a woman with the opposite temperament, “The perfumes of Madame Walberg” delves into the context in which these two characters move, crossing important themes of contemporary reality: the selfishness, social disparity, precariousness and opportunism in the world of work, the difficulties of family relationships, the sudden onset of illness. All issues that peek out in the film, blending perfectly with the lightness that distinguishes the writing of the director and screenwriter Grégory Magne, devoid of authorial ambitions and very attentive to the dramaturgical mechanisms of his film, including the perfect alchemy between the two protagonists (Devos and Montel). The result is a work capable of transforming a very particular story into a “universal” parable (it is not clear where the urban scenes are set, it could be in Paris, as in any other large French city) on human relations. Without ever giving up that light, sparkling, funny and at times paradoxical tone that distinguishes the film from the very first sequence.

Directed by: Gregory the Great; Performers: Emmanuelle Devos, Grégory Montel, Gustave Kervern; Screenplay: Grégory Magne; Photography: Thomas Rames; Editing: Gwen Mallauran; Scenography: Jérémy Duchier; Costumes: Alice Cambournac. Distribution: Satine Film. France, 2020, 100 ‘.

In Florence he is in these rooms: Flora, Stensen.

11 June 2021 | 13:11



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