Beau Pere/B+,D

Fox Lorber/1981/120m/WS 2.35

        Enter the world according to Bertrand Blier and be prepared for a twisted view of reality that is uncomfortably honest. Blier gets so far inside his characters they almost fold up inside themselves. Blier writes and directs his own original material. Beau Pere is a film that once again focuses on evolving relationships this side of unusual. An American film dealing with the same subject matter would come out much different. Perhaps the only way to treat it would be as black comedy. And indeed, there is a lot of prickly humor in the weave of Blier's film cloth.

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Discovering emotions.©Fox Lorber

     Remy, a down on his luck piano player, that is if he ever had any luck, plays sad jazz numbers at a supper club while his wife Martine, an aging model, must resort to posing for body shots to get work. There's barely enough money on the table for food to support their family of three, which includes Remy's 14-year-old stepdaughter Marion. Tension is building between Remy and Martine. Physical attraction is being undermined by financial failure. Reality is charging in on them as never before when Marion heads out for a job and collides with a truck at an intersection. Remy must tell Marion the shocking news and then deal with a difficult situation. Marion wants to live with him, but her estranged father Charly wants her with him.
     Instead of turning into a sob story custody battle, Marion returns to live with Remy after two weeks and prevails when Charly tries to bring her back. What is not apparent at first is that Marion is infatuated with Remy. Just how far will it go? Will Remy succumb to Marion's increasingly Lolita-like behavior? How will Remy support them?
     Blier explores the story in traditional and original forms mixed together. Characters speak to the screen, narrating their own story, trying to explain themselves. There are interesting twists and turns as this skillfully woven tale unfolds.
     Patrick Dewaere, a Blier regular, plays Remy with a numbing child-like acceptance. Ariel Besse is rather amazing as Marion. She captures the awakening impulses of womanhood and sexual hunger with innocence and candor. Maurice Ronet is effective as Charly.
     The DVD is not a pretty sight. The widescreen image is very soft and grainy. Some scenes are positively out of focus. The source material appears to have suffered color deterioration. The result is a dull, muddy image that favors brown mixed into almost every color. White English titles on this 2.35 presentation appear in the bottom black letterbox band. Through it all, the film is powerful enough to hold its home theater audience is shocked silence.
































































































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