Directed by: Patrice Leconte | 80 minutes | comedy | Actors: Christian Clavier, Carole Bouquet, Valérie Bonneton, Rossy de Palma, Stéphane De Groodt, Sébastien Castro, Christian Charmetant, Arnaud Henriet, Ricardo Arciaga, Elisha Camacho, Martine Borg, Brigitte Lucas, Christophe Bouisse, Aurélie Valat, Marie-Do Ferre , Juliette Poissonnier, Pascal Parmentier
Michel has the day of his life when he finds an LP at a Parisian flea market that he has been looking for for years. Moreover, he only pays a pittance for the record. The only thing left for this energetic sixty-something is to set aside an hour to listen to the music. So Michel goes to his apartment to find that necessary hour of rest there. And there the comedy ‘Une heure de tranquillité’ begins.
Because ‘Une heure de tranquillité’ is an old-fashioned farce, of course nothing comes of that tranquility. In the space of an hour, a deluge of family, strangers, construction workers, lovers, mistresses, partygoers, Polish neighbors, Filipino children and much, much more appears. Instead of music, Michel is confronted with neighborhood parties, adultery, leaks, broken elevators, relocations and unwanted outpourings. In doing so, he is given the necessary lessons to pass on about solidarity and egoism. His newly purchased album is not called ‘Me, Myself & I’ for nothing.
‘Une heure de tranquillité’ seems to come from the 1970s, but it is not. The screenplay is based on the 2013 play of the same name by the young Florian Zeller. Yet ‘Une heure de tranquillité’ is not a post-modern comedy (as you would expect from a 2013 farce), because the characteristic post-modern irony is completely lacking. This is a thoroughbred farce as you rarely see it.
The latter is not without reason. The humor of such farces comes across as quite predictable and corny at the beginning of the 21st century. You know exactly what will happen when Michel puts on that damned record again. You know exactly what goes wrong when a clumsy plumber tries to fix a water pipe.
That makes ‘Une heure de tranquillité’ a nightmare for every reviewer. Because what the film has to do, she does very well. The acting is top notch, with Carole Bouquet as Michel’s funny tormented wife in the lead. The comedic timing is perfect, the music matches the tone of the film perfectly, and the messages about connection and solidarity come in clearly. In short, ‘Une heure de tranquillité’ is corny, bland and old-fashioned, but fine within the genre. So food for the enthusiast?