Secrets, Secrets Everywhere

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Friday, September 30, 2005

"Cote d'Azur," a summer vacation farce about a family of sexually unfulfilled goof balls, is sexually brazen yet also rather sweet. As far as Marc (Gilbert Melki) and Beatrix (Valeria Bruni Tedeschi) are concerned, their tight-lipped, rather effeminate teenage son Charly (Romain Torres) must be gay. On a family trip to the beach, he has invited his openly homosexual pal Martin (Edouard Collin) to join them but has insisted they take separate bedrooms.

To Beatrix, this means they must be trying to hide something. When she and her husband press Charly about his sexuality, he's frustratingly mum. What's Charly's true identity? And why does he spend so much time in the shower? Beatrix, who insists she's open-minded (citing her Dutch mother), is desperate to know. She has her own things to hide: an affair with Mathieu (Jacques Bonnaffé), an eccentric narcissist, who has followed her to the beach to continue their steamy liaisons. Beatrix and Charly aren't the only ones with secrets, it turns out.

Co-writers and -directors Olivier Ducastel and Jacques Martineau have made a romper that doesn't shy away from sexual frankness or Mediterranean laissez faire -- if you really like doing it, this movie insists, don't stress about the feelings of others. The film is also about the shortcomings of regional plumbing (that shower isn't built for this much use), and the importance of admitting who, or what, you are. No harm in that message, especially when you have the luxury of watching others deal with the consequences.

-- Desson Thomson


© 2005 The Washington Post Company

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