Bonne Pomme, written and directed by Florence Quentin
The Super Actors involved in Bonne Pomme have given the world some of the best, most glorious masterpieces of French and World Cinema:
The Last Metro – where they performed brilliantly, magically together – and for Catherine Deneuve – a cinematic goddess:
Repulsion, Belle de Jour, Tristana, Le Sauvage, Indochine, Place Vendome, 8 Femmes to name just a few
As for Gerard Depardieu, he was also a deity, before his collapse into the abyss of Russia, friendship with a tyrant and so many other regrettable, condemnable, awful shenanigans and terrible acts:
Get Out Your Handkerchiefs, Loulou, My American Uncle, La Chevre, The Return of Martin Guerre, Danton, Under the Sun of Satan, Cyrano de Bergerac, Tous les Matins du Monde, Jean de Florette and so many more.
All the chef d’oeuvres aforementioned could make one feel tenderness, reminisce when watching Bonne Pomme, but the fact is that this most recent feature in which the monumental Catherine Deneuve and Gerard Depardieu act together is nothing to compare with their previous, most astounding work
Gerard Depardieu plays Gerard Morlet, a mechanic who feels he has to move away from his home and the garage where he had used to work, given the circumstances, family complications and tensions.
He finds a place he would like to buy, where relatives would not find him, Serenity Now! – would not be just a chimera – or the famous cry from Seinfeld where Mr. Contanza shouts at the top of his voice…
The present owner of the mechanic’s workshop is about to embark on a fabulous journey, towards Uzbekistan – was it? In any case, it is one of the Stans, a former Soviet republic in Central Asia – willing to see Samarkand and much more.
However, more important than the owner of the garage is Barbara Manet aka Catherine Deneuve, a single woman who manages a restaurant and small hotel, whenever she can pull herself together and find some funds to pay many, outstanding debts.
The humor comes from the way she deals with Gerard, who wants to find a room and perhaps eat something in the restaurant, but as soon as he enters the Manet property, he is maneuvered, made to bring a beer for the…owner and gradually accept all sorts of unbelievable propositions.
On his first evening in the place, there are some clients, who are told that they need to restrict to some outré dish, then the Madame-and-waitress remembers she does not have…bread.
As she walks out, she instructs her client to supervise; as he wants some nuts, he walks into the kitchen to ask for them, seeing that there is no chef- much like in one of the hilarious episodes in Fawlty Towers- but various pots are on the fire and there is no sign that the patroness will return any time soon.
The hero learns from his business partner in town about the adventures of Madame Manet, who has plenty of debts, has tried suicide, and seems to be at the end of her rope, in severe condition, with various mental issues.
Gerard Morlet feels sorry for the woman, returns to the restaurant and stars to cook for the guests, offers them some wine as compensation for the serious delay and the other unhappy events of the night.
He tries to help the single woman as much as he can, although he has had some embarrassing experiences right from the start – when he was offered the room, Barbara Manet has said room four, but when the mechanic opened it, two Japanese clients were on the bed, in intimate postures…
Whenever Morlet helps, the ungrateful victim is complaining, instead of showing appreciation – he has to take her and the car from a ditch, where she plunged with the car, as she destroyed the advertising for the rival restaurant that offers proper food and service in the same small town.
There is a fire, evidently the owner has no insurance, which it befalls on the friendly, generous Gerard to pay, Madame Manet is taken to the hospital and in her absence, a wedding party comes to benefit from the arrangements they had made…
The intrepid hero, with help from the locals, his new assistant and friend Manu, arranges a fabulous wedding party, where the groom becomes severely inebriated- so much so that the wedding night becomes the occasion for sex – French moeurs? – between the bride and…Manu.
There are some moments of mirth, amusement and tender recollection of the monumental days when Gerard Depardieu and Catherine Deneuve made the big screen light up with their brilliant, divine, sensational, celestial performances…
“Ou sont les neiges d’antan”