Cote D’Azur (2005)

“At home, you fit into my schedule.”

In the film Cote D’Azur (AKA Crustaces et Coquillages), Beatrix (Valeria Bruni Tedeschi) and her husband Marc (Gilbert Melki) are on holiday in the family’s inherited villa. Their two teenage children are along for the relaxation–Charly (Romain Torres) and Laura (Sabrina Seyvecou). It’s so hot and steamy, it’s no wonder that things rapidly slide out of control–Laura takes off with a biker, and that leaves Charly with his parents. Much to Beatrix’s delight, Charly’s friend, Martin (Edouard Collin) arrives. Beatrix, who prides herself on being tolerant–too tolerant–according to her husband, decides that Charly is romantically involved with Martin. To Beatrix, being ‘tolerant’ is a characteristic she wears like a badge of honour.

In the meantime, Beatrix’s lover Mathieu (Jacques Bonaffe) arrives and begins to constantly pester her with cell phone calls. Beatrix juggles moments au famille with hot and torrid encounters with Mathieu. Then an old lover (Jean-Marc Barr) from Marc’s past reappears. Marc becomes more and more uptight as the holiday wears on, and he wrestles leaf blowers and wrenches rather than come to terms with his sexuality. The deceptions beneath the surface become more complex, and Charly witnesses the drama as his parents’ lives unravel.

With strong elements of French farce, the film, directed by Jacques Martineau and Olivier Ducastel also blends in a few silly musical numbers. There are several extremely funny moments–everyone focuses on the shower for a variety of reasons, and in the household, the shower seems to be the hub of activity. Exactly who is in the shower, and what they are doing there, becomes Marc’s obsession. While the film doesn’t really make us care one way or another what paths the lives of its characters take, it’s a frothy distraction that may appeal depending on your mood. In French with English subtitles.

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