Paris 36 Review

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Theatre manager Pigoil loses his wife, his music hall and the affections of his son but hope is on the horizon in the form of Douce, a beautiful young starlet with talent and kind heart.


French musicals have always been rooted in vaudeville, and this gem not only pastiches the period’s chansons to perfection, but also pays glorious homage to the Poetic Realist cinema that reflected France’s changing mood during the ’30s.

The storyline is pure backstage Hollywood, with starlet Nora Arnezeder helping manager Gérard Jugnot reclaim his music hall and the son he lost when his marriage collapsed. With subplots full of brooding melodrama, this is as much an evocation of an era as nostalgic entertainment, and Jean Rabasse’s designs, Tom Stern’s photography and Reinhardt Wagner’s score are as exemplary as Christophe Barratier’s direction.

Beautifully realised homage to 30s theatre and French cinema, this is thoroughly charming and entertaining throughout.