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In French the word
comédien translates as actor, while comédie is, simply, comedy in English. With this linguistic link between the players and the comedy genre it's hardly surprising that the French are really good at cinema comedy. After all, it goes right back to the Lumière Brothers, the fathers of modern cinema.
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    Les saveurs du Palais

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    Quatre aventures de Reinette et Mirabelle

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Les saveurs de Palais
Quatre aventures de Reinette et Mirabelle
A film by the New Wave director Éric Rohmer. As you might expect it is far from traditional and, while appearing very simplistic, does in fact explore some interesting aspects of relationships.

It's not quite Super-8 but it has a very home-movie feel with much of the camerawork seemingly hand held. The technical details at IMDb suggest a 16mm negative, so hardly cinemascope!

It is in fact four short stories, each picking up the tale from the previous one. In the first, the Blue Hour, Mirabelle, on holiday from Paris, is helped by a local country girl, Reinette, when her bike gets a puncture. Reinette introduces Mirabelle to the charms of the country and in particular the blue hour, that magical period between night and dawn when the night animals go quiet and the day animals are yet to awaken.

The second story, the Waiter, takes place when Reinette is in Paris to attend art college, and is sharing a flat with Mirabelle after they became good friends at their first meeting. The waiter in this story is stereotypically Parisien, being quite unhelpful to the point of being hostile.

In the third part of this film, Reinette, a somewhat naive country girl, gives money to a beggar, encouraging the more street-wise Mirabelle to be more generous. Mirabelle gets involved with a shoplifter and upsets Reinette. And Reinette is then is duped by a scammer at the station, although she later has the opportunity to confront the woman about her actions.

The final sequence shows Reinette, who's quite an accomplished surrealist painter, selling one of her paintings with a lot of help from Mirabelle, who pretends not to know her while they're in the gallery. Watch out for a very young Fabrice Luchini as the art dealer.

I've categorised this film as comedy and while it has its comedic moments, probably not everybody would classify it as such. It is in fact a gentle story of the developing friendship between two young women from very different backgrounds. I found it quite charming.
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