1 May 2021

Francis Veber's Le Placard | The Closet (2001)

This can hardly be called one of a series, as there isn't a series, although the main character François Pignon (less often Perrin) appears in Francis Veber's superior comedies a number of times: and he appears as different actors. In part, Pignon is Veber himself, and perhaps the main thing the Pignons (or Perrins) all have in common is that the main character is at variance with consensus reality: they may be shy, obsessional, or any one or a number of other removes away from the norm, but they're out of step. Period. A personal comment: political correctness hasn't even begun to understand the problems it's faced with, and to treat sexuality as a binary is absurd.

Here, François Pignon (Daniel Auteuil) – whose wife has left him taking their son with her – is a minor accountant for a condom company and is facing the sack. Is suicide a possibility? His new neighbour Jean-Pierre (Michel Aumont) seems to think so and tells him that if he jumps from his balcony he'll ruin his (Jean-Pierre's) car: not very neighbourly. So Jean-Pierre invites François in for a drink and tells him he'll find a solution to his problem. And that is: François will have to come out of the closet, admit that he's gay. He isn't, but that's not the point: dismissal on discriminatory grounds is the point, so Jean-Pierre has some compromising photos photoshopped, meaning they're flying all around the office, and of course François's boss Kopel (Jean Rochefort) has problems aplenty.

Francis Veber has a knack of making some really amazing films out of apparently very little material.

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