Oct 7, 2005
Volume 33
Issue 40

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French farce Cote D'Azur Lampoons sexuality; family
French farce Cote D'Azur Lampoons sexuality; family
By Derich Mantonela - SGN A&E Writer

Opens Friday at the Varsity

Like the previous films of Gay French director/writer team Olivier Ducastel and Jacques Martineau ("The Adventrues Of Felix," "Jeanne And The Perfect Guy"), their latest, "Cote D'Azur" (original title "Crustaces Et Coquillages" which roughly translates as "Seafood"), is a curious blend of farce, romance, sex and surrealism, with dreamlike and/or musical interludes, overall lightly bittersweet in flavor.

"Cote D'Azur" refers to the sunny South Of France seacoast, where fortyish parents Beatrix (the ever-radiant Valeria Buni-Tedeschi) and Marc (Gilbert Melki, boyishly attractive) have taken their teenage kids Charly (Romain Torres. a bit geeky) and Laura (Sabrina Seyvecou) for an ostensibly laid back summer vacation in the family cottage.

No sooner has the holiday begun when Laura runs off with her biker boyfriend for a "sexcapade" in Portugal, to the approval of ultra-liberal Mom, while Dad frets and scowls about it.

Marc is hit with another whammy when Charly's teen friend Martin (Edouard Collin, a cute twink) arrives to spend the summer with him. Beatrice instantly decides that the two are secretly lovers, a prospect which delights her but which throws Marc into another of his uptight funks (he lectures the boys at the dinner table about the danger of AIDS).

At first, we are led to believe that the parents are cozily in love and sexually in lust with each other, so we have to wonder what's up when Beatrice's (rather sleazy and out of shape) lover Mathieu (Jacques Bonnaffe) starts popping out from behind the bushes to have sex with the ever-horny woman. Is she perhaps slightly dim-witted or merely a nympho - or both?

The boys, meanwhile, aren't hitting it off as well as Mom believes. Martin is hot to trot but Charly is holding back - maybe he isn't Gay after all? There are periodic scenes (well, shot from above the navel) of the males in the cast masturbating in the shower (by themselves), perhaps to enhance the overall sexual ambience.

Martin, about to explode, heads off into the local cruising grounds (the rocks above the sea) to find release. Charly finally gives in to his (possible) Bi-curiosity and ends up going home with a local plumber (Jean-Marc Barr) who, it just so happens, turns out to be Dad's old boyfriend! Up until then we weren't sure about Marc's leanings, but this being a Ducastel/Martineau film was there ever really any doubt?

Charly ultimately witnesses his father's conjugal reunion with his old flame, the plumber, and he is similarly introduced to his mother's lover when the latter suddenly appears, very nude and very scrawny, in the living room. In one of those "then, next summer" codas, we see the entire cast of "Cote D'Azur" taking up residence on the Riviera once more, this time paired off in various "can you count the ways?" combos, then bursting into awkwardly choreographed song and dance.

Ah, the French! Those crazy sex-cats!

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October 15- 23, 2005

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