Actress, writer, and director Agnes Jaoui presents us Place Publique, its opening scenes promising a modern Renoir. But it’s a misfire of a satire about a cluster of people audiences won’t care about.
It also banks on the success of her star and co-writer Jean-Pierre Bacri’s previous film C’Est La Vie. That film also takes place in a chateau outside of Paris.
Yes, C’est La Vie was messy but it already has my sympathies. That film depicted Bacri as a beleaguered leader of a temperamental band of wedding servers.
I’m also aware that a lot of the people behind this film are North Africans who assimilated as French people. This becomes in the party dedicated to Bacri’s character Castro, a talk show host.
One of the guests in his party is Biggistar (Mister V). He’s a Youtuber with a big young fan base contrasting Castro’s more volatile place as a famous person.
Biggistar is black and the film treats him like a caricature. Maybe that’s it, that in caricaturing Biggistar it also makes Jaoui’s satire of rich white people seem nasty.
Other characters include Castro’s publicist Nathalie (Lea Drucker). She’s hiding the fact that the network where Castro works wants to replace him with a younger host. Or cancel the show.
Nathalie’s husband is Pavel (Miglen Mirtchev). He’s a quasi-xenophobic Eastern European immigrant who speaks in broken French. The film brings him out thinking that the audience will laugh at him.
Nathalie also has a preoccupation with server Samantha (Sarah Suco), who wants to take pictures all day. Kids and their phones, am I right?
Jaoui’s eye also reminds me of my gripe about films these days. She takes advantage of the French countryside, greener than ever, but the night scenes are pitch black. Might as well turn this off.