Printer Friendly

The Closet (Le Placard).

The Closet (Le Placard) * Written and directed by Francis Veber * Starring Daniel Auteuil, Gerard Depardieu, and Michel Aumont * Miramax Zoe

A gay, revisionist update of Imitation of Life with some peculiarly French twists, The Closet drolly reveals how passing for gay can save lives. Before receiving a pink slip from the large condom company where he works, a dull, poker-faced straight accountant named Francois Pignon (his name a Gallic signifier of geekiness) first opts to jump from his balcony.

But he's talked out of it by the retired corporate psychologist next door, an older gay man named Belone (Michel Aumont). Belone's brainstorm is that Francois (played by the great, ubiquitous Daniel Auteuil)--who's already suffering from his beloved wife's cruel departure, along with their teenage son--feign gayness so that management will be obliged to keep him on. Francois reluctantly agrees.

Auteuil's deadpan preening makes the recycled gags about miscalculated sexual leanings bearable, and the comedy is further boosted by the revelation that the helpful Belone is actually taking his revenge on the heterosexual power structure that made his own working life miserable. There's also a superb turn by Gerard Depardieu--besides Auteuil, France's other internationally renowned middle-aged actor--as Felix, the macho, homophobic capo of human resources who is forced by his bosses to make nice with Francois.

The fun starts when the play-acting begins to turn real: Felix pouts when Francois declines at first to wear the pink pullover he has bought him for his birthday. And in a brilliant touch, Francois's estranged son, proud that his newly gay dad is not as supernormal (read boring) as he had thought, begins to feel closer to his father.

Taking on a gay persona also gives Francois some perspective on his wife's manipulative behavior, so much so that he is able to free himself from his obsession with her and begin an affair with the pretty woman--who had also considered him a bore--he has worked with for years. (When the big chief and a group of visiting Japanese industrialists catch the pair in flagrante delicto, the boss explains that they are "testers" for the company's condom products.)

More substantial than La Cage aux Folles (which Closet director Francis Veber made in 1978) and light-years above that movie's watered-down American version, The Birdcage, this witty film courageously takes on the corporate world in all its greed and prejudice. And wins.

Feinstein also contributes to the New York Daily News, Time Out New York, and Time Out [London].
COPYRIGHT 2001 Liberation Publications, Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2001, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Title Annotation:Review
Author:Feinstein, Howard
Publication:The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)
Article Type:Movie Review
Date:Jul 17, 2001
Words:413
Previous Article:Lost girls.
Next Article:True-Hearted Vixens.
Topics:


Related Articles
Quote ... unquote.
BRIEFLY; CANDIDATE FORUM FOR AREA HOPEFULS.
IS THERE ENOUGH OF 'REAL' AMERICA IN FILMS, TV?
CITY CONTROLLER SEEKS REVIEW OF TICKET COLLECTIONS.
UCLA'S `DISABLED' LIST; FOOTBALL PLAYERS CHARGED WITH OBTAINING HANDICAPPED PLACARDS.
CONDO OWNERS ASK FOR HELP; LAWSUIT DEBT THREATENS GAS, ELECTRICITY PAYMENTS.
MORE UCLA PLAYERS ISSUE PLEAS; MCNOWN CLAIMS HE DESERVED PERMIT.
POLICE TARGETING ABUSE OF HANDICAPPED PLACARDS.
ASSEMBLYMAN BACKS PARKING FOR PREGNANT PLAN TO USE HANDICAPPED SPOTS IGNITES CONTROVERSY.
PARKING PRIVILEGE FOR PREGNANT PUSHED.

Terms of use | Copyright © 2017 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters