1936 fictional biopic
Plot: The titular cheat pens his memoirs from his tragedy-tinged childhood damned by mushrooms to the wild affairs and various criminal ventures.
Sacha Guitry wrote, directed, and starred in this classy little gem of a movie. I'm trying to think of a way to describe its style. Airy? Compared to most movies from the 1930s, this feels fresh and new, ironic since Guitry borrows heavily from the silent era. It's got virtually no dialogue and a voiceover narration (also Guitry) from top to bottom. But although it covers an entire guy's life, it's only eighty minutes long and paced in a way so that it seems like only half that. I'm not the biggest fan of narration in movies unless it's noir (almost necessary) or apparently a French film. Guitry's voiceover in this recalled Amelie for whatever reason. Maybe it's just the language though. At any rate, the tone is a playful one, and Guitry seems to have creative juices to spare, evident right off the bat with the cute title screen and introductions of the composer, the cinematographer, the actors, the set design folks, etc. I also liked his sense of humor. Writers didn't kill off entire families like Guitry did until the Coens came along. Breezy and (dare I say it?) whimsical and brisk, this is definitely worth a chunk of an afternoon.