Folies Bergère (‘La Ritournelle’)

ROMANTIC COMEDY; 1hr 38min (French with subtitles)

STARRING: Isabelle Huppert, Jean-Pierre Darroussin, Michael Nyqvist, Pio Pio Marmaï

When in Paris: Huppert and Marmaï

Midlife is a game-changer in writer-director Marc Fitoussi’s benevolent flirtation with new horizons — and for Mme Huppert, no less. As Normandy cattle farmer Brigitte, Huppert radiates the secretive longing for excitement that comes with years of placid marriage (to Darroussin’s Xavier). 


It’s not that Brigitte doesn’t love her staid, dependable husband. But when she happens to meet a much younger and fanciable man (Marmaï), she wastes no time heading to Paris, ostensibly to see a dermatologist for the eczema that troubles her, but really to seek him out. Which she duly does, and let’s just say that although Parisian liaisons aren’t necessarily all they’re rosily cracked up to be, when you’re the star of a bewitching French escapade, lightning can strike twice — bonjour, Monsieur Nyqvist!


For any married woman of that Certain Age (Huppert, incredibly, is 61), a fling is never harmless, since what can be potentially lost could far outweigh any transient gain. The allure of Folies Bergère lies within its wordless, explanatory spaces and in its indulgent understanding of how mysterious even the closest relationships can be.