La Belle Époque

Reviewed by Vaughan Ames

The Film Club's first film of our new season on Sunday night went off with a bang, from the moment I noticed there was a queue round the corner outside the Alhambra to the moment we counted the votes at the end; 162 people came to see it and nearly all rated it very good or excellent...phew!

In a nutshell, 'La Belle Époque' follows the relationship between Victor and Marianne, a couple of 40 years who have got bored with each other...and life in general. Near the beginning, Marianne throws Victor out for another man, Francois, but not before their son has given Victor a free ticket to Time Travellers – a night out in any year you decide, acted out to your script. With nothing better to do, Victor choses 1974, in the cafe where he first met Marianne ('I want to go back to pre-history...when Marianne still loved me').

One night might have been fun, but he falls in love with Margot, the actress playing Marianne...who also happens to be the girlfriend of the owner of Time Travellers, Antoine...who are also going through bad times. Even though he is broke, Victor hocks everything he (and Marianne) own to pay for more evenings, until Margot realises what is happening and disappears. More twists and turns follow until Victor and Marianne finally work out that they are actually missing each other, not Margot and Francois...and Margot and Antoine have reconciled too. A good evening out with an easy French comedy and nostalgia for a past era... what a great start to the season!