Monday, November 21, 2011

Thums Up for The WOmen on the Sixth Floor

As I've mentioned here before, I don't watch movies on television.

It's not some snobbish upturn o' my snout -- I just can't concentrate and follow a movie in the same way that I can in a darkened theater full o' people.

So I enjoy going out.

But I can watch movies in foreign language at home; the subtitles draw me, and I concentrate in ways that I don't when the movie's in English.

I know -- I'm a schmuck.

My movie-going experience at a theater is, of course, heightened further when the flick is in a foreign tongue. So I like to go to them.

Leading me to see a lot of French movies.

And a lot of bad ones. I'm not a real fan of farce, and French Farce can make the US or English versions seem like Streetcar with Brando.

So I was really, really pleased with The Women on the Sixth Floor.

The story involves an apartment owner in early 1960s Paris. He's well-to-do, his family's lived there for three generations. When his lifelong maid quits
is fired
quits, he has to hire a new maid. She's a Spanish immigrant who works in Paris. It makes sense to live in Paris if you're a sensitive Spanish gal during the height of Franco's dictatorship in Spain.

Cut out sensitive. . . .


The landlord learns that living above him, on the sixth floor, is a group of Spanish maids. Their finances may be rough, but their embrace of life is anything but.

Yeah, I know -- sounds like a shitty tag line to a shitty preview.


Fabrice Luchini has been a mainstay in French comedies for a long time. He's usually cartoonish and . . . well, grotesque.

Here, he plays a real person. Dim, perhaps; certainly unenlightened when the movie begins. But he grows, and we grow to like him.

Sandrine Kiberlain portrays his wife. She's nearly a stereotypical parasitic ball and chain, but

she's not.

Natalia Verbeke portrays the young Spanish maid.

Yes, the landlord becomes smitten with the maid. But he's smitten with all of the Spanish ladies he meets. He does right by them not because he wants to bang his young Spanish maid, but because he wants to do right by them.

As you know, I write a really shitty movie review. I hope instead that I've written something to pique yer interest.

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