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Not on the Lips
Not on the Lips
Actors: Sabine Azéma, Isabelle Nanty, Audrey Tautou, Pierre Arditi, Darry Cowl
Director: Alain Resnais
Genres: Indie & Art House, Musicals & Performing Arts
NR     2005     1hr 55min

Alain Renais? (Last Year at Marienbad) delightful new period musical comedy is based on a 1925 Parisian Operetta and stars Audrey Tautou (A Very Long Engagement), Isabelle Nanty (Amelie) and Lambert Wilson (The Matrix sequ...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Sabine Azéma, Isabelle Nanty, Audrey Tautou, Pierre Arditi, Darry Cowl
Director: Alain Resnais
Genres: Indie & Art House, Musicals & Performing Arts
Sub-Genres: Indie & Art House, Musicals & Performing Arts
Studio: Fox Lorber
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen - Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 03/22/2005
Release Year: 2005
Run Time: 1hr 55min
Screens: Color,Widescreen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 10
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: French
Subtitles: English

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Movie Reviews

Delightful French Operetta, or Lightweight Musical Comedy
Tsuyoshi | Kyoto, Japan | 02/18/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Perhaps you want to know something about the star of 'Amelie' first. But facts first. Based on the operetta first staged in 1925, 'Not on the Lips' ('Pas Sur La Bouche!') is a lightweight musical comedy, starring Sabine Azema, Isabella Nanty, Audrey Tautou, Pierre Arditi, Darry Cowl, Jalil Lespert, Daniel Prevost, and Lambert Wilson (the mysterious French character in 'Matrix Reloaded/Revolutions').

So this is a comedy with ensemble cast. Regardless of what you see on the DVD cover, Audrey Tautou's role is not big, but not small. That, however, does not change the fact that 'Not on the Lips' is a fun to watch for the fans of operetta, or kind of silly but delightful, old-fashioned farce with little songs and neat art deco.

The film, which does not hide its stage origin, is divided into three 'acts.' The story starts when George (Arditi) rather pompously tells of his theory about love -- he says, to any woman, the first love is always the best love. Little does he know that his wife Gilberte (Azema) was (fleetingly) married to an American, one Eric Thompson (Wilson), and to her great surprise, Eric is coming to her house as her unsuspecting husband's business partner.

Thus, as the rules of farce, the mistaken (and hidden) identities and door slamming complicate the situations. Things get more confusing (and funny) when starry-eyed Huguette (Tautou) falls in love with the hunky 'artist' Charley (Lespert), who in turn chases Gilberte .... and so on an on. Can't you follow the relations now? It's okay, anyway, you can when you see the film itself.

The film is full of playful songs (sung by the cast), and they are mostly enjoyable, though they might sound repetitous. The problems is not that; it is, probably non-French-speaking audience would not fully appreciate the joy that these songs and dialogus convey. (I must confess that I, being a Japanese, couldn't.) Plenty of puns like 'Cubism' and 'CooCoo-ism' could be heard, but many of them just flew over my head.

And as the film retains some of the now out-of-date values and manners (intentionally, I guess), you may be slightly embarrassed, hearing the phoney 'American' English -- hear Lambert Wilson's 'WHATDDYA SAY' -- or seeing a hunk who looks like Rudolph Valentino.

But the film succeeds in creating the joyful mood, and though the contents are slight, it is great to see the glitteringly gorgeous costumes that none of us would wear today. For someone like veteran director Alain Resnais ('Last Year at Marienbad' and many many others), it must be an easy job. (By the way, he was born in 1922.)

It's a fluff, to be sure, but in a way it's an admirable job, for, even among the recent revival of musicals, no one can and would make a film like this today -- these charming songs you might hear on old LP records, the fluffy clothes, and talk about 'resque' that is no longer 'risque' these days. You may like it, ot hate it. I happen to like it, and charming Audrey Tautou too, that's why 4 stars."
One of the Year's Best Films
Alex Udvary | chicago, il United States | 04/23/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Despite not getting a theatrical release Alain Resnais' ("Hiroshima mon amour") "Not On The Lips" is without doubt one of the best films I've seen this year. How sad that the movie will not be opened to larger audiences as this was one of the few films I've seen where I can say I had a lot of fun watching it.

"Not On The Lips" is a throwback to those wonderful comedies and musicals that were made back in the 1930's. Resnais says one of his main sources of inspiration were the Hal Roach comedies. Roach for those that don't know was a comedy producer who had such stars as Laurel & Hardy, Charlie Chase, and Zasu Pitts.

The film is really just eye candy. It is filmmed in bright lavish colors with characters wearing glamorous glowns and tuxedos. And everybody is singing about love. The only other recent movie I can think of to compare this movie to, in order to give you an idea of what to expect is a movie Woody Allen made a few years back called "Everyone Says I Love You". Both films carry a sentimentality of 30's cinema.

Gilberte Valandray (Sabine Azema) is married to Georges (Pierre Arditi) but has a lover, Charley (Jalil Lespert) now is just so happens that Huguette a friend secretly has a crush on Charley and wants to marry him. So the two women fight for his attention. Now Georges is a business man who is about to close a big deal for his company with an American, Eric Thomas (Lambert Wilson). But, what Georges doesn't know is that Gilberte was married before to Eric. Now Gilberte and her sister, Arlette (Isabelle Nanty) must try an convince Eric not to reveal Gilberte's secret. But Eric is still in love with Gilberte. And that's "Not On The Lips" is a nutshell. It's really a broad bedroom farce, though I don't know if that term is used anymore.

I found that I enjoyed most of the musical numbers which come from a 1920's comic opera written by Andre Barde. The last three songs I didn't like especially a song about a key hole.

Now that you know the plot I think it's fairly easy to decide if this is "your kind of movie". If you've enjoyed past films from Resnais, this should please you. If you've never heard of Alain Resnais but like old-fashioned musical-comedies, this just please you as well. I hope many people make an effort to see this gem of a movie.

Bottom-line: One of the best films I've seen this year. A throwback to the musical\comedies of the 1930's. Greatly inspired by the Hal Roach comedies."
Enjoyable museum piece
Jethro Manjay | Carlisle, PA United States | 07/11/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Imagine Woody Allen unearthing a naughty 1920s play, maybe one written by Mae West, with a few catchy patter songs in it. Imagine Woody casting it with attractive stars who can't all sing too well and setting it in a set that is handsome but stage bound, with a mobile, almost dancing camera. Now you can imagine what "Pas Sur La Bouche" is like. As a Frenchman, I enjoyed hugely all the musty puns, the daffy songs and all the silliness. My American wife could not stand five minutes of it. It is all very "boulevard," with asides to the audience and a lot of "Ciel, Mon Mari" situations. If you are in the mood for a French museum piece, you will love this. Otherwise..."
A Delicious Bon Bon of Musical French Fluff
Grady Harp | Los Angeles, CA United States | 04/08/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)

"PAS SUR LA BOUCHE is a beautifully wrapped French confection that brings to the screen a performance of a French operetta by the same name. One may question why, in 2003, anyone would want to devote time and money to a story so light and Feydeau-farcical and, even more, why a director of the stature of Alain Resnais would be at the helm. Well, take a deep breath, swallow credibility, and sit back and enjoy this glittering little piece for what it is - entertainment.

As in musicals of the 1920s around the world (especially those in the USA!) the story is about love, misinformation, tricks, covering past affairs, and the usual nonsense of play within the play. The story is unimportant: the pleasure is all in the technique of the actors/singers who treat this light score with just the right amount of magic to make it work. Audrey Tautou, Sabine Azéma, Isabelle Nanty, Pierre Arditi, Jalil Lespert, Daniel Prévost, and Lambert Wilson give it their all.

Resnais' hand is evident in the stage movement, use of mirrors and disappearing exits. Even the titles and ending credits keep the candy going. For those who are not fluent in French, the subtitles will draw focus: the singing and dialogue are so rapid that there is little time for the eye to stray to the characters! In all, not a film for everyone, but if French farce is your cup of tea, it doesn't get more charming than this! Grady Harp, April 05"