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Brandon Judell

Gorgeous (Comme T'y Es Belle!)

By Brandon Judell

Photo by Jean-François Baumard

"Gorgeous," a huge box office hit in France, is a comedy about four attractive women of varying ages in rather varied relationships: divorced, separated, married, and the fourth obviously single. The first three have children. Some more than one. The ladies all also have family members whom we meet and lovers, too. They additionally have jobs, one with numerous co-workers. Consequently, at times, the screen seems to be populated with a lively cast huger in number than that of "Birth of a Nation."

On top of this, everyone in the film has a lot to say, and they often say it very fast, at the same time, and they say it appropriately in French since once again this is a French film.

Here a difficulty arises if French is not your first, second, or third language. What "Gorgeous," in fact, requires you to do is read subtitles extremely quickly, then look up to see who said what, or vice versa. Add a hyperactive editing job by Philippe Grellat and Nathalie Hubert that jumps from scene to scene like a bunny on Viagra, and you might find yourself going, "Whew!" or "Whoa!" or "Ah, mon Dieu!"

It took me around 50 minutes to sort of sort out who was who, who was doing what to whom, and why they were doing what they were doing.

Photo by Jean-François Baumard

But once I was settled in, I belatedly discovered "Gorgeous" is a delightfully acted, entertaining, Franco take on the "Sex in the City" lifestyle among the kosher set. Yes, the main difference is that the gals here are all Jewish with Moroccan Sephardic ancestors.

This blood connection qualifies "Gorgeous" to qualify as part of the lineup for the 11th Sephardic Jewish Film Festival, one of buried treasures of New York City filmgoing. Each year a delicious, illuminating collection of narrative and documentary features are screened that focus on Sephardic Judaism. The venues are the Center for Jewish History and the JCC in Manhattan. The dates run from Feb. 4 until Feb. 8. Check out the web site for more info (http://americansephardifederation.org/sub/events/film_fest_11.html).

Director: Lisa Azuelos
Cast: Michele Laroque, Aure Atika, Valerie Benguigui, Geraldine Na

Copyright © Brandon Judell 2006


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