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Monday Morning Review

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Middle Aged man gives up his job, his wife, his kids ... and flies off to Venice.

★★★★

Having acquired kudos on the festival circuit, from its gently comic but acutely-observed opening, Otar Ioseliani's sauntering mid-life satire irresistibly recalls Jacques Tati's world-weary despair at the petty restrictions and techno-fixations of modern life.

Ultimately, nothing quite matches the casual eloquence and impeccable timing of welder Jacques Bidou's soul-destroying daily routine. But his flight to Venice to escape the indifference of his eccentric family is strewn with moments that stop just the credible side of slapstick.

Ioseliani himself has a bitingly bizarre cameo as an impoverished aristocrat. But it's the growing realisation that middle-aged mediocrity is a universal - and not particularly shameful - malady that proves to be the story's cockeyed inspiration. What a shame British audiences have seen so little of Ioseliani's 40-year career.

A quirky inspiration.