Souvenir | Kilburnlad | Film | Reviews




Liliane works in a paté factory, her job being to place items of garnish on terrines of paté as the final part of the process. It is repetitive and mind-numbingly boring. In the evenings she sits alone at home, having a drink or two and watching the TV. Then one day, Jean, a temporary worker arrives and immediately feels that he recognises Liliane as a once famous singer who, with her song Souvenir, was just pipped for victory by ABBA at the Eurovision song contest.

Liliane assures Jean that he is mistaken, but he won't be dissuaded. Eventually his insistence causes Liliane to miss her bus, allowing Jean to take her home on his scooter. When Jean doesn't turn up for work one day, Liliane goes to find him. It transpires that Jean's father is also a great fan of Liliane, or Laura as she was then known. Jean's mother is, however, less than impressed. After a lot of coaxing Jean persuades Liliane to perform at a local club, where she is a great success, especially in the eyes of Jean's father.

Jean is a boxer who aspires to great victories, but in a pivotal fight he is convincingly beaten. Reviewing his future, he suggests that he could be Liliane's manager. By this point they are romantically involved, which turns the usual male-female casting on its head, she being a great deal older than him. She reluctantly agrees, but unbeknown to Jean contacts her former producer, Tony Jones, asking him to write her a song. Jones broke her heart back in the day.

We thus have the ingredients for troubled romance as Liliane makes her way through the selection stages for her place to represent France once more at Eurovision. It's fair to say that Isabelle Huppert, who plays Liliane, outclasses this film and in many ways is its saviour. The director, Bavo Defurne, is quoted as saying "I wanted to make a movie for Sunday afternoons", in other words an unashamedly feel-good film.

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