Slog News & Arts

Line Out

Music & Nightlife

« Fantasy and Reality | The Morning News »

Friday, May 18, 2007

Why I love Romain Duris

posted by on May 18 at 20:20 PM

Duris as Jean-Baptiste Poquelin, AKA Molière

Well, what’s not to love? Like his countryman Mathieu Amalric (Munich), the heavy-browed, hairy-chested Duris is attractive in an unconventional sort of way and incredibly versatile. He was charming as a shaggy drummer in When the Cat’s Away, believable as a brooding pianist in The Beat That My Heart Skipped, and hilarious as a lovelorn writer in Russian Dolls. You may also recognize him from L’Auberge Espagnole (the precursor to Dolls), Le Divorce, CQ, and Gadjo Dilo. This year, SIFF presents two Duris selections.

Molière, the closing night film, doesn’t exactly break new ground. It plays like a cross between Amadeus and Ridicule, but it isn’t as epic as the former or as nasty as the latter—though Ludivine Sagnier gives it her best shot. Still, it’s a pleasant enough way to pass the time and Duris, as ever, does a bang-up job. Molière represents one of those multi-faceted roles where an actor has to do literally everything—quip, cry, disguise his identity, and act badly (the dramatist is presented as a failed tragedian). You name it, Duris pulls it off.

Banhart sans full beard

My favorite part (and this probably says far too much about me) is his look in the thing. I couldn't say whether director Laurent Tirard is suggesting that Molière was one of the world's first rock stars—even though music wasn't his specialty—but Duris looks like nothing so much as freak folk sensation Devendra Banhart with a little Keith Richards and Nathan Shineywater (Brightblack Morning Light) on the side. He's all long hair, black eyeliner, chunky rings, and funky threads. I kept expecting him to burst into a warbly tune, but alas...

Duris also appears in Christopher Honoré's Dan Paris with Louis Garrel (The Dreamers). I caught Honoré's previous feature, Ma Mère (with Isabelle Huppert as Garrel's deranged "mère"), at the London Film Festival two years ago. It was a wildly entertaining mess, but I understand the filmmaker has since put a damper on some of his excesses. According to The New York Times, it features Duris's best performance to date, which means you really shouldn't miss it... assuming that fantastically talented Frenchmen are your forté.

Garrel and Duris

PS: I resisted the urge to title this post How Tasty Was My Little Frenchman, in which case it would've been exactly three words long: Very tasty indeed. Also, the links to Molière and Dans Paris will take you to SIFF's official website for dates, times, prices, and additional information. The Stranger's guide will launch next week.

RSS icon Comments


By the way, film freelancer Kathy Fennessy is doing some guest slogging for us throughout the Seattle International Film Festival. Enjoy.

Posted by Annie Wagner | May 18, 2007 10:09 PM

Yeah, sister girl, I'm with you on this one. Roman Duris is fine. He was adorable in "L'Auberge Espagnole." Wanted to spread him on a cracker (as they say). Loved the character he created with that kind of sweet cock-suredness.

Duris is on par with Mathieu Kassowitz. Part of what made "Amelie" so much fun was that she got that prize at the end.

Posted by Bauhaus | May 19, 2007 12:13 AM

>>By the way, film freelancer Kathy Fennessy is doing some guest slogging for us throughout the Seattle International Film Festival. Enjoy.

Yay! Finally some film reviews I can enjoy reading. Kathy, where do you fall on the uber-important topic of Hilary Swank's teeth?

Posted by lara7 | May 19, 2007 10:53 AM

Lara, I think Swank has fantastic chompers. Her recent film roles, however, are another story... That said, I probably notice teeth just as much as Lindy. My turn-off—if you will—is not so much big, white teeth, but tiny, little rat teeth. Take Robert De Niro in Taxi Driver, for instance. Looks harmless enough, but when he smiles—that's when Travis Bickle really comes alive.

Posted by Kathy Fennessy | May 19, 2007 11:32 AM

I think Duris is great, but I really just couldn't get past that Moliere wig.

Posted by josh | May 21, 2007 12:26 PM

Comments Closed

In order to combat spam, we are no longer accepting comments on this post (or any post more than 14 days old).