“Perfumes”: Not as Sure as I Thought I Was

Make no mistake French film can produce just about everything from the banal to the complex as far as films go. Having been watching them for 45 years, often late night when I lived in Montreal, hopefully you can take my word on this.

For example, there is the classic “Indochine” with Catherine Deneuve which was released in 1992 and won the best foreign film at the 65th Academy Awards which is an “Apocalypse Now” quality film.

“Perfumes” is potentially a great romance film that does not quite turn into a romance by the time the credits role. I thought it would conclude as a romantic film and perhaps it does but that I will leave up to you.

Anne Walberg (Emmanuelle Devos) is an 50ish introvert that specializes in smells. She has created great perfumes for Dior and had the perfume world at her feet at one point but suffered from anosmia, a loss of smell, and fell from grace.

So she moves from haute fashion to industrial scents making overly tanned purses smell good, factory emissions smell like fresh cut grass and touristic recreated caves smell like the original Cro-Magnon caves.

She is an introvert and unable to form any relationship with the opposite sex.

Then enters her chauffeur Guillame (Grégory Montel) a 40ish driver from Elite Limousines in Paris that refuses to bend to her demands for obsequious behaviour. That earns her respect. Guillame is a recently separated man from his spouse that needs a solid job and a flat to get more access to his daughter Léa (Zélie Rixhon) a cutie 10-year-old.

Thinking this is a simplistic romance film may take you in the wrong direction. It is a bit of a tragedy as Walberg is forced to move from the elite world of perfume to making factory’s pollution smell like fresh cut grass, to make recreated Cro-Magnon caves smell like the original and overly tanned luxury purses more consumer friendly. Not quite the world of high fashion she once was a darling of.

Guillame loses his job as a chauffeur getting caught in a photo radar situation while rushing Walberg to a hospital after she has overdosed on sleeping pills. He has too many demerit points to continue as a chauffeur. He ends up driving a tractor at a private airport. That is until Walberg offers him a job as an assistant as he has a good practical sense of smell. So he now has an employment contract which enables him to secure a flat and enhanced custody of Léa.

So everything ends well for Guillame and Léa but for Walberg and Guillame is this simply a work relationship?

No answers on this so you’ll just have to guess where matters are going between Guillame and Walberg.

As to where the film is showing virtually  http://www.filmswelike.com/virtual-cinema

The film starts on April 30th and you can see the trailer here http://www.filmswelike.com/films/perfumes

Published by Robert K Sephen (CSW)

Robert K Stephen writes about food and drink, travel, and lifestyle issues. He is one of the few non-national writers to be certified as a wine specialist by the Society of Wine Educators, in Washington, DC. Robert was the first associate member of the Wine Writers’ Circle of Canada. He also holds a Mindfulness Certification from the University of Leiden and the University of Toronto. Be it Spanish cured meat, dried fruit, BBQ, or recycled bamboo place mats, Robert endeavours to escape the mundane, which is why he has established this publication. His motto is, "Have Story, Will Write."

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