Maestro (2014) by Léa Fazer
In a gist: Young struggling moronic-but-charming actor gets cast by the Grand Master of Arty Farty French Cinema to play the title role in his latest high-brow art film. Cut to a delightfully chaotic shoot due to the (very) low-budget nature of the film. On-set slapstick-ish and vaudevillesque comedy ensues. Oh and our hero falls in love with his co-star, of course — she’s beautiful but way too intellectual for him and oh-so condescending towards him. But fear not, she will give in, although I frankly didn’t give a flying fuck because the only relationship that mattered — the one at the centre of the film — is the friendship that the young moronic actor strikes with the old Master filmmaker.
- Pio Marmaï plays Henri Renaud, our young moronic-but-charming hero (yeah yeah, we keep rooting for him to get the girl).
- Michael Lonsdale plays Cédric Rovère, the old director.
- Déborah François plays Gloria, the girl.
- The film within the film — the one that Cédric Rovère is shooting with his young band of actors — is inspired by L’Astrée, an ancient epic French novel that tells the story of two Forezian shepherds called Astrée and Céladon.
So although fun and light on its feet, and with some rare but genuinely tender moments, Maestro is rather forgettable… Except that there’s one thing that elevates it to a certain level of poignancy: its genesis. Maestro was co-written by French actor Jocelyn Quivrin who died in a car accident in 2009 before he had the chance to start shooting it. He based the story on his encounter with Grand Director Éric Rohmer and their collaboration on the film Les Amours d’Astrée et de Céladon. So actually Henri Renaud isJocelyn Quivrin and Cédric Rovère is Eric Rohmer. As for Gloria, she’s based on French actress Alice Taglioni whom Quivrin met not on the set of Les Amours d’Astrée et de Céladon but on different film. They were still together at the time of Quivrin’s death in 2009. Rohmer died a few months later. Maestro is dedicated to both of them.
[Seen @ Cinéma Gaumont Nantes, Nantes, Saturday 2 August 2014]