Le Grand Amour | Chicago Reader

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83 minutes · 2012

This marvelous French comedy from 1969 kicks off the Gene Siskel Film Center's monthlong retrospective on Pierre Etaix, a professional circus clown whose gag-writing for Jacques Tati's Mon Oncle served as a springboard to his own brief career as a director. Le Grand Amour was his first film in color, and its story of a married businessman (Etaix) who falls head over heels for his 18-year-old secretary is loaded with ingenious gags in the Lewis-Tati tradition. In one sequence, as the hero drifts off into dreamland, his bed rolls into the shadows of his room and rolls out onto a country lane, where he encounters all manner of vehicular beds; in another, a 50-50 divorce settlement is realized as a house in which every one of the couple’s possessions—from the sculptures to the furniture to the TV set—has been sawed neatly in half. In French with subtitles.

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