Volume 96, Issue 99
Friday, April 4, 2003

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OUTSIDE THE BOX: Le Placard

Le Placard (2001)
Starring: Daniel Auteuil, Gerard Depardieu
Directed by: Francis Veber

By Lori Mastronardi
Gazette Staff

The stress of academics can potentially lead you straight to alcohol or tears.

Sure, the former is tempting, but indulging yourself in a little French comedy may help you overcome these stressful times, while reducing harm to your wallet, liver and level of self-respect.

Sexuality, condoms and discovery lie at the heart of the comedic French film Le Placard (The Closet). Director Francis Veber skillfully produces a simultaneously light-hearted and thought-provoking film which follows the transformation of Francois Pignon (Daniel Auteuil) from a depressive to jubilant character.

Pignon finds himself wound up in a simple lie that snowballs into an elaborate scheme to secure his job. And what does the entire scheme stem from? A few anonymous photos depicting Pignon's sexual preference.

It wouldn't be a French film without the appearance of the boisterous Gerard Depardieu as Felix Santini. Depardieu naturally provides ceaseless entertainment, as he plays the role of a brutish homophobe, who strangely taps into his sensitive side and develops strong feelings for his overtly gay co-worker.

He takes him to a fancy lunch, shares stories of men getting "steamed up" in the locker room and even purchases a pink cashmere sweater to reveal that he's simply smitten.

Le Placard discloses how a simple change or a single person can completely alter your life. The film also manages to maintain a serious underlying tone, as it reveals how society has evolved in its acceptance of various lifestyles.

If reading through subtitles isn't your idea of a treat, suck it up, because this movie will be well worth the effort.

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2002 THE GAZETTE