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|Glasgow Film festival Review: Populaire|
|Written by Ivan Radford|
|Friday, 15 February 2013 09:45|
Director: Régis Roinsard
I have no problem in stating right now that Populaire is best speed-typing film of all time. One, because there probably aren't any others. Two, because it's fantastic.
Valentine's Day no doubt had an influence in picking it for last night's opening gala for the Glasgow Film Festival, but the good news is that it's just as lovely on any other day of the week.
A delightful mix of Pygmalion and administrative duties, Populaire plays out somewhere between a 50s US rom-com and a French episode of Mad Men. Romain Duris stars as Louis, a driven businessman with an eye for the ladies and an ear for counting words per minute. When Rose Pamphyle (François) enters his office, her loud jabbing fingers soon catch his attention - along with everything else.
"This machine is made for humans, not elephants!" he reprimands her, as brooding as Don Draper. It's not long until she becomes his protege, stomping all over the keyboard as they aim to win the national speedwriting tournament.
A niche sports competition? 1950s France? Romain Duris? It may smack of by-the-numbers QWERKY rom-com writing, but Roinsard's direction and a smart script gives the film an irresistible flair: pastel-coloured sets and suave costumes nail the period vibe, while our lead male revels in society's chauvinist attitudes with wit as sharp as his side-parting.
As the typing speeds heat up, Roinsard's camera zips around the room, ricocheting across the keyboard and swinging behind the table like a Sky Sports advert. But no matter how stylish the visuals, we just can't look away from Déborah François. Sassy, shy and a whole lot of independent, she steals the entire show - together with Duris and The Artist's Berenice Bejo in a complex supporting role, she turns a knockabout romp into a fully-fledged drama, creating a romance that you genuinely care about.
The result is the kind of feel-good charm that made last year's Untouchable so special.
A film about typing that makes you laugh and cry? I couldn't write this review up quickly enough. This deserves to be tres, tres, tres Populaire.
See our other top films to see at Glasgow Film Festival.