Celestial Clockwork

on May 02, 1996 by Christine James
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A beautiful Venezualan bride-to-be, Ana ("Belle Epoque's" Ariadna Gil), flees the altar, rushes home to pack a valise and grab her most treasured item--a poster of opera singer Maria Callas-- and heads one-way to Paris. There, still in her wedding dress, she moves in with kind-hearted acquaintances; in her cramped new abode, Ana sets about her dream: becoming an opera singer. But one of her roommates, Celeste (Ariel Dombasle), is a malevolent force destined to darken Ana's path. Celeste's invidious nature is visually depicted by a stormy celestial (or `Celeste-ial') disturbance (perceptible only to the audience).
   A pretentious wannabe filmmaker/superstar, the delightfully scheming Celeste has German punk-opera singer Nina Hagen's sense of aesthetics and the Wicked Witch of the West's personality. She is bitterly jealous of Ana's serene beauty and angelic voice, and plots to thwart her aspirations to star in a production of "Cinderella." But Ana's true-life cinder-girl story is helped along by cosmic forces that lead her to an opinionated but warm Russian singing teacher (Michel Debrane), a psychic gay waiter (Frederic Longbois), an eccentric psychoanalyst (Evelyne Didi) and a white-voodoo practitioner (Hidegar Garcia Madriz), all of whom help Ana in her quest.
   A fabulous cast of truly eclectic characters puts the stars in alignment in this astrology-tinged comedy. Everyone does a superb job, and a half-opera, half-salsa music soundtrack greatly assists the uplifting motif. Starring Ariadna Gil, Arielle Dombasle, Evelyne Didi and Frederic Longbois. Directed, written and produced by Fina Torres. An October Films release. Romantic comedy. French-language; subtitled. Not yet rated. Running time: 85 min.
Tags: Ariadna Gil, Arielle Dombasle, Evelyne Didi, Frederic Longbois, Fina Torres, October Films, Romantic comedy
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