Film & TV

Alliance Française French Film Festival Review: Finally, Sunday! (Vivement dimanche!)

Finally Sunday

This 1983 murder mystery was director François Truffaut’s final film and a tribute to the master of suspense, Alfred Hitchcock.

 

Finally SundayThe 1983 classic Finally, Sunday! (Vivement dimanche!) (also known as Confidentially Yours) was the final film of director François Truffaut, and his tribute to the master of suspense, Alfred Hitchcock.

When Jacques Massoulier is murdered on a hunting expedition, suspicion falls to his acquaintance, real-estate agent, Julien Vercel (Jean-Louis Trintignant). He has motive and opportunity; Vercel’s wife was Massoulier’s lover and Vercel’s fingerprints were found at the scene.

Enterprising secretary-turned-private-dick Barbara Becker (Truffaut’s leading lady du jour, Fanny Ardant) launches an investigation to clear her boss but, in doing so, discovers a seedy underworld where everything is not as it seems. As the dead body count increases, so do the alternate suspects, and time is running out to clear Vercel’s name. (Mostly due to all the characters being killed off!)

The noir drama/thriller is a highly stylised, tongue-in-cheek adaptation of Charles Williams’ 1962 hardboiled crime novel, The Long Saturday Night, filmed in black and white and replicating aspects from the best noir films. Classic Truffault mise-en-scène complements the amusing background story gems; the handy recording device Vercel happened to have at the ready, the clientele of the poodle parlour across the road from his real-estate office, and the rehearsals of Victor Hugo’s Le Roi s’amuse, to name a few.

Nominated for a César Award for best actress for this role, Ardant is dazzling, determined, sarcastic and amusing, with mile-high legs. Trintignant (César Award winner for Armour, 2012) is the perfect character contrast in this mismatched couple, at the heart of a sticky predicament.

The super-loud foley of the original, non-restored print used at the screening gave an unrefined sense and, if an intentional mix (versus transfer problem), had the unexpected and pleasing effect of subtly heightening the twee aspects of the film.

Shot by Academy Award winning cinematographer Néstor Almendros (Days of Heaven, 1979), Finally, Sunday! is a wonderfully suspenseful ride of amusement; an entertaining and gritty whodunit, oozing with French style. Très bon!

Reviewed by Gordon Forester

Rating out of 10: 7

The Alliance Française French Film Festival screens exclusively at the Palace Nova Eastend cinemas from 20 March – 8 April 2014.

 

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