Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Actors: Romain Duris, Kelly Reilly, Audrey Tautou, CÚcile De France, Kevin Bishop
Director: CÚdric Klapisch
Genres: Indie & Art House, Comedy, Drama
Xavier is back! we find him 5 years after lauberge espagnole - he is now 30 years old. His career & his romantic life are equally disappoiting. A chance meeting could be the answer to both his career & love life but xavier... more »
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Better even then the first, though not a straightforward seq
Christopher Culver | 01/06/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Cedric Klapisch's 2005 film LES POUPEES RUSSES is a sequel to his effort of three years before, L'AUBERGE ESPAGNOLE ("The Spanish Apartment"). It's a very different sort of story. While the first film centered on the zany camaraderie that developed between several European students in Barcelona, LES POUPEES RUSSES focuses on the lovelives of a selected few characters, though Klapisch does briefly reunite the cast of the Spanish apartment. This review assumes that the reader has already seen L'AUBERGE ESPAGNOLE, a fine film I do recommend.
As LES POUPEES RUSSES opens, Xavier is now thirty, making his living in Paris ghostwriting celebrity autobiographies and scripting soap operas, while the manuscript of his Barcelona novel languishes in neglect. He has gone through numerous relationships since his return from Spain, and wallows in self-pity with Isabelle and Martine, both still alone as well. After an exposition on the misery of these characters, the main plot is set into motion by two events. One is Xavier's commute to London to work on a script with Wendy, now a writer herself. The other is William's engagement to a Russian dancer and move to Saint Petersburg, where he invites all his friends for the wedding. Though I shall avoid spoilers here, I can say that it is through his involvement in these goings-on that Xavier finally finds the stability he was looking for.
Lars, Tobias, Soledad, and Alessando only appear in the Saint Petersburg scenes, and are granted only a few lines each. Though it is rather curious that these characters were brought for probably the most expensive filming in spite of their peripheral roles, the viewer feels no outrage that they get so little screen time. At this point, one's sympathy is entirely with Xavier, Wendy, and William and his Russian bride, and so seeing some of the faces from L'AUBERGE ESPAGNOLE adds only a nice highlight on the years that have gone by.
For this reviewer, intrigued by the references to the building of a united Europe in L'AUBERGE ESPAGNOLE, the comments on society and politics in this film were powerful as well. If LES POUPEES RUSSES does not overtly speak of Europe's future, as in the first film when the students question the place of Catalan, the story is nonetheless based on growing changes in European youth. One is increased mobility. That a bunch of old friends from Spain can reunite in Saint Petersburg is a plausible development speaks much of how much young people travel now. Another is multilingualism, dialogues in LES POUPEES RUSSES are in English, French, Spanish, or Russian (with subtitles where necessary). And through the involvement of William's engagement to a Russian, the film shows that European integration goes beyond the borders of merely the EU.
But LES POUPEES RUSSES is also a beautiful love story. I was never content with the other portion of the plot of the first film, where alongside European changes we viewed the story of a young man finding himself. In Barcelona, the twenty-five year-old Xavier was acting like someone several years younger and some of the twists were silly. Here, however, the relationship between Xavier and the women he meets is entirely convincing, and the ending is one of the most satisfying and heartwarming I know of in film.
This reviewer finds himself at around the same point in life as Xavier, and resides in Europe with a similar multilingual and mobile lifestyle. Perhaps that is why the film is so touching for me, but I regrettably can't say what younger viewers in the United States might think of the film. Still, anyone is sure to finds LES POUPEES RUSSES a well-made and entertaining production."
Quirky? Yes! Complex? No! Humorous? Very!
H. S. Wedekind | Pennsylvania, USA | 10/03/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Some of the reviewers here try too hard to find a depth that simply isn't in this funny movie. As the sequel to L'AUBERGE ESPAGNOLE (THE SPANISH APARTMENT), the cast is reunited, but not until the final scenes about the wedding in St. Petersburg between William (Kevin Bishop) and Natasha (Evguenya Obratztsova). The major portion of LES POUPEES RUSSES (RUSSIAN DOLLS) deals with Xavier's (Romain Duris) inability to find success as a serious writer and happiness in his unsuccessful search for true love, Wendy's (Kelly Reilly) involvement in a disastrous relationship with a verbally abusive alcoholic boyfriend, Isabelle's (Cecile de France) troubles with lesbian love interests, and Martine's (Audrey Tautou) problems with past lovers while raising her very young son. Each is looking for true love in all the wrong places. So many Russian Dolls within Russian Dolls. It is a movie that is more mature than L'AUBERGE ESPAGNOLE and more humorous and enjoyable for having grown up...just like Xavier. I recommend this movie highly."
L' Auberge Espagnole': The Sequel
Grady Harp | Los Angeles, CA United States | 11/05/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"RUSSIAN DOLLS ('Les Poupées russes') is the full of love folllowup by Cédric Klapisch to his highly successful 2002 film 'L'Auberge Espagnole', the film that tossed multinational young people together in a Barcelona apartment and watched them interact and create some sense out of the havoc that was their lives. Klapisch has fine comic timing, a sense of spontaneity, and a cast lifted from his previous film - all ingredients for a fine little spin on current relationships. If the film is too much in love with itself, (the self-indulgent multiple split screen viewing and back and forth pacing tends to be a bit cutesy), in the end there is so much fun and wry wisdom to spread around that many of the holes in the script can be forgiven.
The story focuses on event five years after the Barcelona doings in 'L'Auberge Espagnole' and yet as the main character Xavier Rousseau (Romain Duris) narrates the current tale he finds the need for flashbacks to explain current circumstances. William (Kevin Bishop), the bigot from before who labeled roommate Tobias (Barnaby Metschurat) as a Nazi, has smoothed out a bit and in fact has found love in a Russian girl Natacha (Evguenya Obraztsova), a Russian ballet dancer who lives in St. Petersburg and the current story is supposed to be about their wedding in St. Petersburg which will also be a reunion for all the roommates from Barcelona. Xavier is a writer who is forced to be a ghostwriter for celebrities who want to publish memoirs because he has difficulty writing a silly television love series and is stuck in his writing of his own novel. He cannot keep relationships (but then very few in this group of friends can) and he teeters between his allegiance to his ex Martine (Audrey Tautou), while moving in on one of the celebrity interviewees Celia (Lucy Gordon). He is warned by his lesbian roommate Isabelle (Cécile De France) about his wanton ways but Xavier uses Isabelle as cover for his 98-year-old grandfather (Pierre Gérald), who insists he marry. Xavier toys with a beautiful black girl Kassia (Aïssa Maïga) and is rejected, and just about the time when Xavier feels as though he will never find the right girl ('You just keep opening them like Russian nested dolls hoping that the one in the center will be your choice'), his script is picked up by BBC and he flies to London to work with Wendy (Kelly Reilly - William's attractive sister, unsuccessful in finding a decent mate) and voila! The rest of the intrigue is best left to the viewer: it does become complicated and multilingual and hilarious...and touching.
Weaving all the cast members form his first film into the resolution of the second film proves to have some problems in continuity, but then this is not great writing nor was it meant to be. This is French comedy in fine form and is a thoroughly entertaining film and the chance to watch some beautiful people display how crazy relationships today have become. Grady Harp, November 06
The sequel to L'Auberge Espagnole.
G. Merritt | Boulder, CO | 03/17/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The Russian Dolls (Les Poupées russes) is the 2005 romantic sequel to the 2002 film, L'Auberge Espagnole (The Spanish Apartment), also directed by Cédric Klapisch. Romain Duris returns as Xavier, Audrey Tautou (Amelie) returns as Martine, and Kelly Reilly returns Wendy. Other characters from L'Auberge Espagnole return in lesser roles. (Those who enjoyed L'Auberge Espagnole will like this sequel. A third film is in production.) Set in Paris, London, St. Petersburg and Moscow, the film resumes with now thirty-year-old Xavier still searching for the perfect woman five years after parting ways with the six students with whom he lived in Barcelona. He and Martine have also parted ways, and Martine now has a son, Lucas. Xavier writes pulp romantic novels. He discovers the course of love never runs smoothly when he begins a relationship with a former roommate he knew in Spain, Wendy, while simultaneously pursuing an affair with a "perfect" model, Celia (Lucy Gordon). What's not to like about this film? The dialogue sparkles, the story entertains, and the European scenery is simply stunning. The Russian Dolls is to L'Auberge Espagnole (The Spanish Apartment) just as Before Sunset is to Before Sunrise. I recommend making it a L'Auberge Espagnole-Russian Dolls double feature.