Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Les Femmes du 6ème étage - (The Women on the 6th Floor)

Set in 1962 in Paris, this French/Spanish movie by writer (with Jérôme Tonnerre)/director Philippe Le Guay is a lighthearted comedy-romance, with some subtle social economic undertones. On one side there is Jean-Louis Joubert (greatly played by Fabrice Luchini) and his neurotic wife, Suzanne (Sandrine Kiberlain), members of the upscale Bourgeoisie, with two sons that are away in boarding school. After their old maid quits/gets fired, Maria Gonzalez (Natalia Verbeke) gets hired. With her sheer presence and pride, she starts unraveling the social order in this huge apartment complex in Paris.

All the laborers (maids) live in small garrets (mansards) under the roof (on the 6th floor) of the building in less than acceptable conditions. Monsieur Joubert, who has lived in this building all his life, as his parents and grandparents have, suddenly starts to realize the "joie de vivre" of all the Spanish domestics who keep the "dead society" on the floors below them, tidy and organized. Even with the social undertones, the movie is funny, light, easy digestible even with the subtitles, in case you don't speak French and/or Spanish.

It's not a must see, but you may spend the 104 minutes worse. I'll give it ★★★(★)  out of ☆☆☆☆☆ stars.

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