In this week's videos we go abroad with a look at two French films and one German film. In translating them into English, the use of subtitles (in "The Boat Is Full" and "A Nos Amours") proves to be far less of an irritant than dubbing over the soundtrack (in "The Tall Blond Man With One Red Shoe").
The adage "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" is applicable to the last video. It was remade last year as "The Man With One Red Shoe" (the casting of dark-haired Tom Hanks in the starring role necessitated the dumping of "tall blond" from the title) and demonstrated the inanity of trying to recapture the magic of a good film in a remake. Stick with the original. Just ask any Coca-Cola executive.
A NOS AMOURS (RCA, 1983) A French girl bored with her life rejects her first love and enters into a series of casual sexual encounters. This film listlessly meanders for more than an hour. Then it shifts gears and soars when her estranged father arrives home unexpectedly and disrupts a party with searing -- but truthful -- observations about his family. Complex and thought- provoking. It won the French equivalent of the best picture Oscar. Starring Sandrine Bonnaire, Dominique Besnehard and Maurice Pialat. Rated R.
THE BOAT IS FULL (Embassy, 1981) A group of refugees fleeing Nazi Germany in 1942 squeeze into to their "lifeboat" by posing as a family. The lifeboat is in fact the neutral country Switzerland, and it has more passengers than it can hold. The unlucky are deported back to Germany. The images are haunting and the characters are memorable. You won't have fun watching this one, but the realistic depiction of an ugly situation makes for an an important, albeit distressing, history lesson. Not rated.
THE TALL BLOND MAN WITH ONE RED SHOE (Columbia, 1978) The life of a bumbling concert violinist turns into chaos when a deputy spy agent mistakenly puts the man under concentrated surveillance because he is thought to be a super spy. Pierre Richard is amusingly understated in his portrayal of the violinist. Writer/director Yves Robert is adept at wringing hilarity from mundane experiences and repetitive dialogue. A good spoof. Rated PG.