Au Petit Marguery

on November 08, 1995 by Lael Lowenstein
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Laurent Benegui's successful adaptation of his own novel about the closing night of a favorite neighborhood restaurant after 30 years recalls "Babette's Feast," and with good reason: Food is as central a character here as it was in that film, and the female lead, Stephane Audran, also played Babette.
As the close friends and family of proprietors Josephine (Audran) and Hip-polyte (Michel Aumont) unite for a final meal, the story jumps across time, with everything--flashbacks and current conversation--taking place at the same Paris restaurant, Au Petit Marguery. We revisit the restaurant on its opening night, witness family arguments and overhear intimate details in this place that will be and has been a pivotal part of their lives.
Through it all, Benegui and director of photography Luc Pages keep their camera moving and tracking restlessly, effectively weaving seamless transitions that merge both the present-day conversations of various characters and the temporal juxta-positions of past and present. The im- pressively fluid camerawork is matched by stellar performances from the entire ensemble cast. Beyond that, Benegui's exquisite script tucks away a poignant and ironic secret, the payoff of which is revealed only in Audran's final speech. Starring Stephane Audran, Michel Aumont and Jacques Gamblin. Directed by Laurent Benegui. Written by Laurent Benegui, Michel Field and Olivier Daniel. Produced by Charles Gassot. No distributor set. Drama. French-language; subtitled. Not yet rated. Running time: 93 min.
Tags: Stephane Audran, Michel Aumont, Jacques Gamblin, Laurent Benegui, French, foreign, flashbacks, restaurant, friendship, adaptation, food
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