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Fausto Review

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After losing his parents, Fausto is sent to an orphanage where he meets his future best friend Raymond. The become close, with both soon after the attention girls. As time goes on, Fausto then becomes interested in fashion and learns how to be a costumier under the tutelage of the local tailor.

★★★★★

This slight but bewildring French fable opens in the mid 60s with likeable 17-year-old Fausto (Higelin) suffering dreadfully from bullying in a hideous orphanage, then switches tone immediately after the credits as our hero is moved from the thuggish dorm to share with Raymond (Hautesserre), a fat kid who can fart Beethoven's Fifth Symphony and instantly becomes Fausto's best mate and sidekick.

Going out into the world to take apprenticeships with Jewish tradesmen, Fausto and Raymond send love letters to every girl on the block, but Fausto swiftly whittles his attentions down to Tonie (Florence Darel), the local garage-owner's daughter. Under the patronage of Mietek (Yanne), a philosophical tailor, Fausto becomes obsessively interested in bizarre clothing and sets out to become a famous couturier.

Though there are moments of darkness, usually involving violent things happening to the unfortunate Raymond, this is mainly a rather sunny, painless little picture, with Fausto breezing absurdly through life and getting off with the notably stunning heroine on his path to eventual success. There are some good jokes, but rather too many of the gag routines are built around Raymond's farting, while the supposedly trend-setting clothes Fausto designs just look silly.

Still, it's mainly watchable fare despite a few Gallic longeurs and all the performers are fairly endearing, especially the crustily engaging Yanne, and Darel — a good bet for canonisation in the Pantheon of French Cinema Babes. After wandering aimlessly and youthfully for 81 minutes, however, the story stops rather than ends, as if this were merely Part One of a serial which intends to follow the hero through to the present day. Sadly, fragile whimsy cannot sustain a whole movie.

This film begins well with an unoriginal yet entertaining start but after Fausto meets Raymond, things begin to weaken. Sadly although Raymond is a likeable character he is the butt of one too many jokes whilst Fausto becomes annoyingly smug and while the film begins to grate, it still manages to end rather abruptly.

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