REVIEW: BLIND DATE | LOTTERYWEST FESTIVAL FILMS

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Blind Date or Un peu, beaucoup, aveuglément is the first feature film directed by Clovis Cornillac, who is also one of the film’s stars. Cornillac is already well-known in French cinema and theatre as an actor.

The idea for the film came from Cornillac’s wife, Lilou Fogli, and they co-wrote it with Tristan Schulmann, with assistance from Mathieu Oullion.

Blind Date is a light comedy – with emphasis on the light.

We never discover the two main characters’ real names. Instead they are referred to as Machin (‘whatshisname’ in French, played by Cornillac) and Machine (‘whatshername’, played by Mélanie Bernier). Machin is horrified to discover his scare tactics haven’t succeeded in driving away his new neighbour on the other side of the paper thin wall, all that separates the two apartments. Machin and Machine can hear each other’s every move – from a toilet flushing to a metronome ticking – and this is repeatedly used to comic effect.

Machine’s arrival shatters Machin’s quiet, ordered existence. He’s practically a shut in, relying on his friend Artus to deliver his weekly groceries. Machine, a professional pianist preparing for a big competition, is also socially awkward. They start out by driving each other crazy with noise, but it’s not long before something beautiful begins to emerge from all the madness…

While it does have some funny moments, this film is flawed. Some of the characters’ decisions just don’t make sense, and the plot is simplistic, relying on well-worn clichés. Machine’s married sister, Charlotte (played by Fogli), goes from affair to affair, and nobody bats an eyelid. After jumping into a taxi with a new suitor, she replies to his question about where to go next with “wherever you want.” She’s just along for the ride.

After Machine’s glowing performance at her piano competition, her nasty ex offers only criticism. He tells her she needs to do more than show some cleavage and toss her hair around to be a great pianist – and I tend to agree. Machine’s response? She head-butts him.

Perhaps I wanted more from these characters than they should reasonably be expected to give. The film does its best to charm, and from the reactions of the sold-out crowd on Monday evening, it certainly seems to be a crowd-pleaser.

Blind Date, for me, is just un peu beaucoup (a little too much). However, if you’re in the mood for a light, romantic comedy starring good looking people with nice accents, then perhaps this is your film. Allow yourself to be charmed.

Blind Date showed as part of Lotterywest Festival Films, Season 1. At UWA Somerville nightly until Sunday 27 December, then at ECU Joondalup Pines from Tuesday 29 to Sunday 3 January. Tickets/more info: perthfestival.com.au

 

GEMMA SIDNEY

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