The French fascination with the Elderly Homme Fatale Genre
A few weeks ago a Francophile friend lent me a pile of French movies on DVD to watch.
Now, I am not denying they all had good actors in them, but, there is one recurring and disturbing question raised that is hard for any thinking woman to ignore.
I just do not understand why for decades the French film directors churn out film after film with much older men either married or about to copulate with much younger and very beautiful women. These paunchy old has-beens are often cads, unfaithful, restless or philandering chain-smokers and their wives are nearly always devoted, patient, very accommodating goddesses who want nothing more than these men to love them.
I don’t get it. Don’t even the actresses object to this plot sometimes?
“Do I have to be in love with him? He’s old enough to be my grandfather.”
See my selection below but really, you could pluck any French film off the shelf from any decade and I guarantee the same issue will arise:
1. Le Coeur des Hommes. [Men’s Hearts] About 4 wingeing very unattractive French blokes on the wrong side of in some cases, at least 60, who aren’t happy with their love life.
The least attractive of the four, actor Gerard Darmon looks like a lugubrious bloodhound suffering a wasting disease as he puffs interminably on his ciggies.
Gerard’s problem? He can’t commit to his devoted nubile, young girlfriend who apparently just can’t get enough him even though he looks like she has gone to bed with her grand-father.
We get to see Gerard’s character Jeff many times in bed with his chick in all his Roman-nosed, stringy-armed glory.
Still can’t commit. Too many hotties want him.
Then there was Manu – with his premature hair loss, un-hygienic bushy moustache, short, chunky, barrel-waisted – played by Jean-Pierre Darroussin (the sexiest thing about him is definitely his name) who hooks up with his beautiful porcelain blonde babe.
She, by default ( she’s French) ADORES him of course. She’s only human. And female. And in a French film.
2. Tenue de Soiree, [Evening Dress]
Hailed as a bit saucy and out there but French director Bertrand Blier is highly respected, so I was looking forward to this gem.
I confess I just was not totally prepared for one of the scenes showing Gerard Depardieu (pre his now elephantine size) buggering Michel Blanc from behind.
Michel Blanc is a man by the way.
Again, not an attractive nor a young man either. But his girlfriend is (of course this is a French film)
Every film I see Michel Blanc in, he reminds me of the ludicrously funny Australian comedian Flacco on the left here. They could be twins.
In French movies though Michel is just a typical rounded, bald short-arse with an impossibly beautiful much younger girlfriend.
3. Le Chanteur [The Singer]
Starring Gerard Depardieu during his phase as a hippopotamus.
With hands the size of meat trays, long stringy hair you can see his scalp through and a nose that looks like a clay mine exploded on his face, he looks like a character from Wallace and Gromit.
But within moments the exquisite Cecile de France spots him from the audience and woo-hoo! she falls hopelessly in love with him and within the hour they are having a knee-trembler in the hallway.
For the rest of the movie, he heaves and lollops about – we are even treated to a scene of him lying prostrate and bovine in a slippery satin bathrobe (shudder) – while Cecile inexplicably tries all the tricks in her bag to cheer him up.
He’s depressed apparently.
4. Le Chef. I saw this film “au cinema” with a French friend of mine. I laughed a lot at the slapstick puerile humour of it.
It’s the trite old “two guys with Lady trouble” plot.
One is married to a – how did you guess? – beautiful young thing to whom he has trouble committing (!) She wants him to marry her. She is your standard long-suffering bomb-shell as apparently all French women are in real life?
The other bloke is Jean Reno. Again with the male pattern baldness, puffy air-bag eyes, jowly, lost his shaver for most of the filming, bursting girth, well over 50.
Single. But not for long.
5. Hey you know Keith Richard? That walking wraith from the Rolling Stones? Yes there’s a French male actor equivalent. Daniel Duval.
I can only imagine the life he must have lead to have such ravaged and dissolute features. Has he ever slept?
If you were a girl and you met him in a park at dusk you’d probably scream.
But in France nymphets line up. We have to watch him in films incessantly smoking and scowling and making out: pressing his Gandalf-like wizened face onto pert young lips.
In one film I even saw tongue god help me…..uugghhhhh!
6. 36 Quai des Orfevres [Police Headquarters in Paris]
A classic movie full of violence and angst. About good-cop, semi-good cop and bad bastard cops in Paris. Perfect genre for Daniel Duval of course.
He doesn’t get laid in this film (doesn’t live long enough for that) but his mate does.
The ubiquitous, omnipresent, all-pervasive Daniel Auteuil.
I just don’t get it. This guy is in almost every French movie ever made since the 70’s. And he always has sex in each film. It must be in his contract.
There’s just one thing.
If he came up to you in a bar at dusk you’d excuse yourself to go to the toilet, jump out the window and run home to avoid him. He is just not a sexy man. But, we get to see him in the shower – nude – doing it with his gorgeous Italian wife.
She adores him by the way. All the women do. He’s a sexy thing. Great actor no debate, I just have lots of trouble being convinced that all French women find him instantly sexy and leap into bed with him.
In every movie I see his proboscis flanking some young perfectly formed woman’s mouth.
7. One Leaves One Stays.
Daniel Auteuil love forum. This film makes me heave.
There are two blokes wingeing about their love lives again. They’re both old and repellent. They both have beautiful wives and Pierre Arditi is cheating on his wife (who seems remarkably zen about his infidelity) with a gorgeous leggy sexy and obviously desperate black girl of about 20 who must like greying, chunky, hairy-backed blokes who smoke in bed post-coitally.
She adores him by the way. His wife adores him too. How could she not? Look at him.
This has got to be a film written by a man!
But I as the observer am really asked the impossible when Charlotte Gainsbourg – young, long, leggy, charismatic , taller – sees Daniel in his shop and virtually propositions him on sight. Her lust is so great she can barely contain herself.
Just from looking at him.
It must be.
There is no other explanation.
Then they asked too much again of my credibility in the film To Paint or Make Love where Dan and his sexy wife move to the country and for some inexplicable reason do a spot of wife swapping with a young married couple nearby. The young husband is blind which in the Director’s eyes must explain how he could possibly stomach making love to a woman over 24.
But why wasn’t the young newly wedded girl blind?
I would have believed that! (She adored Daniel Auteuil by the way)
Daniel has been having it away with all the major beauties of the age.
He just will not retire.
Oh look there’s that Auteuil nose again this time being adored by Juliette Binoche (left)
Oh no not again Daniel.
9. Les Femmes du Sixieme Etage [The Women on the 6th floor]
A delightful movie and I find Fabrice Luchini is such a wonderful comic actor. He does make me chuckle.
But I do not want to go to bed with him.
It would seem that French women from 18 years up do. Once again, the film is marred as we are asked to suspend all credibility and believe that this lovely Spanish femme de menage (left) is genuinely in love with old Fab.
Here he is with the lovely Melanie Laurent who is his student at college and he has texted her a message saying ” U R Hot.” That’s all it takes in France to win over a nubile. She’s done for… pffft off to bed they go.
Oh and look there he is in The Girl From Monaco with gorgeous blond Lousie Bourgoin who is
hopelessly attracted to his receding hairline and buck teeth.
11. Camping Sauvage [Wild Camping]
Hmmm. This is a weird little film and it makes few pretences to be anything else.
I wonder if it was made with the distinct purpose of disturbing and repelling viewers.
About a young, angelically-pretty teenager who runs off with one of the least attractive men in cinema- played by actor Denis Levant.
He is 40 (apparently, but could be much older in reality) and the two of them slobber and gyrate throughout the movie before topping themselves out of love at the end of the film.
Lovely little plot.
The Award for The Most Repellant Kissing Scene in a French Movie
12. Ever seen La Petite Chartreuse? [The Little Red-Head]
Olivier Gourmet (yes, that’s his name and I suspect that he does a lot of “gourmet” judging by his girth) is not pretty.
Portly, bald and be-spectacled with appalling dress-sense, you can almost smell his bad-breath through the movie screen.
He plays a recovering alcoholic (so I can forgive the bad clothes) who runs over a young woman’s little girl. It’s actually not a bad film with an interesting plot.
Olivier turns out to be a nice guy but – this does not make him sexy for goodness sake! .
And yet…..the young, pretty, confused mother falls for him and in what can only be described as a cringing moment in cinema (you groan and avert your eyes from the screen), the couple pash and rut in the grass beside the road amidst traffic.
I am looking forward to a French film revolving around the sex-life of Brigitte Bardot, now 78 or Catherine Deneuve who is still rather lovely.
It will be the story of either or both of these women who seduces and transfixes the sexy and young French actor Gregory Fitoussi into declaring undying love for either or both of them.
Just by looking at them in the office across a desk.
Both women will have trouble committing to him as there are so many other young studs clamouring hot for them.
They will be unfaithful to Greg who will remain loyal but saddened (tinged with more than a hint of tolerant understanding)
I want close ups of Brigitte’s wrinkly arms and inner thighs, no make-up post drinking binge shots and Catherine’s bulging stomach, limp breasts and love-handles.
And I want to see Brigitte’s tongue and everything thanks.
See how you like it guys
Any further contributions of this French film genre gratefully accepted from you dear Reader. Let me in on them.
[Photo credits: Allocine.fr, screenrush.co.uk, news.com, imdb, sbs.com, francemagazine, nypress.com, movieplayer.it,vatshol.person.neuf.fr, inmirror.com, allmoviephoto.com, en.unifrance.org, hotflick.net, listal.com, cinemovies.fr, filmaffinity.com, dailymail.co.uk, aveleyman.com, abc.net.au, juggle.com, fifiz.fr, community.flixster.com, dvdtalk.com, polomanagement.com, cineplex.fr]