CONFIDENTIALLY YOURS (aka: FINALLY SUNDAY) (VIVEMENT DIMANCHE!) (director/writer: Francois Truffaut; screenwriters: Suzanne Schiffman/Jean Aurel, from ”The Long Saturday Night” by Charles Williams; cinematographer: Néstor Almendros; editor: Martine Barraqué; music: Georges Delerue; cast: Fanny Ardant (Barbara Becker), Jean-Louis Trintignant (Julien Vercel), Philippe Laudenbach (Maitre Clement), Caroline Sihol (Marie-Christine Vercel), Philippe Morier-Genoud (Supt. Santelli), Jean-Pierre Kalfon (Massoulier, the priest), Jean-Louis Richard (Louison), Xavier Saint-Macary (Bertrand Fabre); Runtime: 117; MPAA Rating: PG; producers: Armand Barbault/François Truffaut; Fox Lorber; 1983-France-in French with English subtitles)
“Never adds up to much of anything but is always entertaining.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
The last film by New Wave French director Francois Truffaut (“Love on the Run”/”The Woman Next Door”/”The Last Metro”), who died in October 1984 at the age of 52, is an intricate but lightweight Hitchcockian comedy thriller that never adds up to much of anything but is always entertaining. It’s based on a 1962 American pulp novel ”The Long Saturday Night” by Charles Williams. It has one of cinema’s greatest lines, as Jean-Louis Trintignant’s character exclaims: “I feel like a complete idiot. Does it mean I’m in love?”
It’s set in a small-town South of France, where a real-estate agent Julien Vercel (Jean-Louis Trintignant) learns that his wife’s lover dies in a hunting accident and then is wrongly suspected of murdering his wife and hides in his office rather than face the police. His clever self-assured long-suffering secretary, Barbara Becker (Fanny Ardant), who is in love with him and even though the ravishing brunette knows he’s not in love with her because he prefers cheap blondes and even though he just fired her for being rude to his wife, attempts to play sleuth and clear him of the crimes. In the course of her sleuthing, she treks to Nice adorned in a Philip Marlowe-like trenchcoat she wears in her amateur acting troupe and meets in her investigation sinister characters that range from a pimp to an oily lawyer.
To try and capture the look of the 1940s Hollywood noir films, Truffaut shot it in a monochrome black and white. It playfully recalls other movies and filmmakers Truffaut loved (such as using Stanley Kubrick’s 1958 pacifist film Paths of Glory, that was once banned in France, to make a plot point) and gives a fresh stylized look to the noir genre. Thoroughly enjoyable for what it is, as the absurd situation of the boss and the secretary is played out to the hilt and allows us to see how vulnerable is the egotistical male.
REVIEWED ON 11/17/2008 GRADE: B
Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”
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