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Actress and screenwriter Agnes Jaoui makes her directorial debut with this poignant 2000 comedy about the difficulties of getting beyond one's own social circle. The film's main triumph is Jean-Pierre Bacri's wonderfully touching and delicately shaded performance as a married businessman living in a suburb of Rouen who becomes infatuated with his English tutor (Anne Alvaro), a stage actress turning 40 who lives in a world very different from his. Jaoui herself plays a waitress-barmaid who moonlights as a hash dealer and becomes involved with the businessman's bodyguard. She's quite sensitive as a director of actors, though the fact that she cites Woody Allen as a model shows how much she thinks as a writer-performer. The script, by her and Bacri, is one in a series of collaborations that includes Cedric Klapisch's Un air de famille and Alain Resnais' Same Old Song. In French with subtitles. 112 min.

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