Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Women on the 6th Floor (Rhoades)

“Women on 6th Floor”
Rises to the Top

Reviewed by Shirrel Rhoades

Lately, I’ve been consulting in Central America, although I don’t speak a word of Spanish. When French actor Fabrice Luchini started filming “Women on the 6th Floor” (original title: “Les femmes du 6ème étage”) he didn’t hable español either. And his Spanish co-stars didn’t speak French.
The film takes place in 1960s Paris. Jean-Louis Joubert (Luchini) is an uptight stockbroker married to a class-conscious wife (Sandrine Kiberlain). Their teenagers are off at boarding school. Life is, well, boring.
That is, until Jean-Louis falls under the spell of their two Spanish maids. Especially María Gonzalez (Natalia Verbeke), who lives with the other servants on the 6th floor of their apartment building. These women turn Jean-Louis’s life upside down.
The film suggests he’s a better man for it.
“Women on the 6th Floor” is currently playing at the Tropic Cinema.
You’ve seen 60-year-old Luchini (né Robert Luchini) in “Molière” and blonde 40-something Sandrine Kiberlain in “Alias Betty.” Dark-eyed Natalia Verbeke made her mark in “Son of the Bride” and “The Other Side of the Bed.”
Director-writer Philippe Le Guay is a professor at La Fémis (Paris). You can sense his intellectual approach to this film about matters of the heart.
Nonetheless, the flaws of our wayward stockbroker are endearing as he discovers this new world on the 6th floor populated by a gaggle of female Spanish immigrants. The bourgeois Jean-Louis learns a lesson about tolerance and embracing life as he listens to his heart rather than thinking with his pocketbook.
Le Guay and Luchini have collaborated of three films (counting this one) – “L’année Juliette,” “Le coût de la vie,” and “Les femmes du 6eme étage” – all comedies.
A point of interest, Le Guay’s family had a Spanish maid when he was a child and his father was a stockbroker. Like they say, write about what you know.
 [from Solares Hill]

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