Paris 36 (‘Faubourg 36’)

ROMANTIC DRAMA; 2hr (French with subtitles)

STARRING: Gérard Jugnot, Clovis Cornillac, Kad Merad, Nora Arnezeder

A star is born: from left, Merad, Jugnot and Arnezeder

Times are tough in the working-class streets of Paris in 1936. Political fanaticism is rife. And with the closure of the Chansonia music hall, a jewel in the tangle of cobbled streets that makes up writer-director Christophe Barratier’s fictional Faubourg neighbourhood, stage manager Pigoil (Jugnot, fetchingly forlorn), electrician Milou (Cornillac) and sandwich-board man Jacky (Merad) are all out of work.


For Pigoil, the blow is especially brutal, robbing him of the custody of his young son (Maxence Perrin). On a desperate whim, the three men resolve to reopen the Chansonia. Local heavyweight and new owner Galapiat (Bernard-Pierre Donnadieu) has given them one month to make it. Can their rocky show cut the mustard? Will unruly Milou win over delectable singer Douce (elfin discovery Arnezeder)? The easy answers would be yes and yes, but for all its friskier instances, Paris 36 is no piece of fluff. Pigoil and company have a steep road to navigate before the triumphant swish of the final curtain. Then again, it is a cobblestoned Parisian steep road…