Directed by: David & StÃ©phane Foenkinos
Starring: Audrey Tautou, FranÃ§ois Damiens, Pio MarmaÃ¯
Sassi\’s Star Rating: 4/5
Whenever a highly popular book is turned into a novel, it\’s always curious ground for audiences to manoeuvre.
The words â€˜textual integrity\’ and â€˜authenticity\’ are hurled like hand grenades between the waring factions of creative adaptation, and staying in line with the novel. And while passionate fans fight over what would have made the book to film process more true, filmmakers are often caught in the crossfire.
But it looks like in the case of Delicacy (La DÃ©licatesse) it might be the filmmakers themselves who get the final words.
Delicacy is based on the very popular book of the same name, which reigned as the number one best seller in France for months, having sold over 700,000 copies before the film version was even released (and there\’s been a recent film related spike in sales, if you hadn\’t already surmised).
The film features the one thing that is sure to rile up some of the more conservative fans: completely new scenes that don\’t appear in the book.Â But these textual enthusiasts are going to have to bite their tongue before the usual cries about mutilating authorial vision escape, because this time the Delicacy author David Foekinos is also a Delicacy director (alongside his brother StÃ©phane).
David noted that while StÃ©phane was keen to make Delicacy into a film early on, he knew that a lot of the book couldn\’t work cinematically, and they had to get smart about bringing these well loved characters to life on screen.
“The adaptation is very faithful, but I think the scenes from the book weren\’t necessarily cinematographic” David says in a recent interview (courtesy of Transmission Films). “My challenge was to preserve the tone of the text while creating new fantasies.
“There are things that aren\’t in the book but a film is something different to a novel so the things we took from the book had to be visual.
Delicacy tells the story of Nathalie (Tautou), who meets the love of her life FranÃ§ois (MarmaÃ¯) at a cafÃ©. The idyllic couple fall headfirst into love, and matrimony, quickly. But when FranÃ§ois is unexpectedly killed in an accident, Nathalie is left in the depths of despair.
A few years later Nathalie is still stuck in her grief. In a moment of madness she kisses her co-worker, the incredibly odd Swede who works downstairs (Damiens). Markus is immediately infatuated with his lovely boss, and can\’t help but pursue her.
But Markus has more challenges to contend with than just his own immense social awkwardness. Nathalie attests that she doesn\’t even remember the kiss, and surely won\’t be doing it again. He must also compete for Nathalie\’s affections with the suave head of the company (Bruno Todeschini).
What results is a sweet romance story about two people who are too scared to fall. Simple in its approach and understatedly funny, Delicacy confronts life changing events (on both ends of the scale) without too much overt drama, and herein lies much of its charm.
The rest of it sprouts from curious characters brought to life by tender, affectionate performances. Tautou is lovely as always, but FranÃ§ois Damiens wins over audiences as the knitted jumper wearing Markus. The excellent casting no doubt a testament to StÃ©phane Foenkinos, who has worked as a casting director on over sixty films.
A quirky tale of loss, love, and working out what happens in between; La DÃ©licatesse is c\’est magnifique!
Delicacy is screening as part of the Alliance French Film Festival which kicks off in Sydney between the 6th and 25th of March, before travelling to Melbourne, Brisbane, Canberra, Adelaide, and Perth. This year\’s varied programme includes forty-five new and classic French films.
Â Check the website www.affrenchfilmfestival.org for session times, venue information, and ticketing.
Category: Film & TV