SAME OLD SONG (Alain Resnais, 1997)

In hommage to a British television mini-series, Dennis Potter’s The Singing Detective (1986), Same Old Song (On connaît la chanson) is an unusual musical film; when they open their mouths to let out with a song, the characters are actually lip-synching familiar tunes in popular recordings. These songs reveal what the characters are thinking.
     Alain Resnais, that ol’ light musical-comedy film magician (well, here he is!), directs from a sparkling romantic script by Agnès Jaoui and Jean-Pierre Bacri, who also play characters in the film. Each of the latter won two Césars, for their supporting performances and their collaborative script. André Dussollier won as best actor. Resnais won for the year’s best film. The French film critics also named Same Old Song the year’s best film, and it won as well the Prix Louis Delluc. Resnais, who had made some of the world’s grimmest great movies, had a lot that year to sing and smile about.
     This one is as light as a soufflé, but a subtle chord of melancholy deepens the aftertaste. One knows the song; it is the mortal song of life and love.


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