French 17th-century theatre is inventively spirited into the cinematic present in this delightful, thoroughly contemporary adaptation by Mathieu Amalric starring a great Comédie Française cast and set in the luxurious Hôtel de Louvre.
Screened as part of NZIFF 2011
Mathieu Amalric, versatile auteur-actor and director, spirits Corneille’s canonic 17th-century French theatre classic, L’Illusion comique, to contemporary realms in this inventive cinema treat set in the luxurious Hôtel de Louvre. From his lair in the hotel basement, Alcandre, a wizard in the original play, here ingeniously transformed into the hotel’s concierge, can observe on CCTV the many comings and goings, from past, present and even future, in the establishment. Pridamant, concerned about his wayward son, Clindor, seeks Alcandre’s help and soon discovers that Clindor is PA to Matamore, a grandly delusional computer game creator. Both men are involved with Isabelle, who has been promised by her father to another… Farcical and dramatic complications ensue. The wonderful Comédie Française actors converse in the play’s sublime alexandrine couplets – artfully subtitled – as naturally as though requesting a baguette. — SR