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Glasgow Film Festival: Populaire


GFT, February 14, 7.30pm and 8.15pm; February 15, 1pm

A GLANCE at the calendar suggests that Valentine's Day might well have had an influence in the selection of French romcom Populaire as the Opening Gala at this year's Glasgow Film Festival. Old-school animated titles, set to a Bewitched-style orchestral theme tune, immediately toss us back in time to a 1950s setting dressed with colourful frocks, smart suits, classic cars and clunky typewriters. It's not just a case of period design, though, but period sexual relationships, as country girl Rose (the delightfully vivacious Deborah Francois) lands a job as secretary to insurance agent Louis (a not-quite-comfortable Romain Duris), only to become the quick-fingered means by which he can get one-up on his best pal by training her to win a national typing competition. There's an appealing quirkiness to her character, but a bit too much contrivance to the plotting, as the film flirts with the sexual politics of the era without going all the way, a la Mad Men. A bright, throwaway fairytale, carried on the delicate shoulders of its ingenue lead.

Alan Morrison

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