Tuesday, March 17, 2009

La cuisine au beurre (1963)

A movie about restaurant is always interesting, especially when two great French actors are in it: Fernandel and Bourvil.

Fernand Jouvin (Fernandel) who lives with a German woman in Tyrol since the war, has to go back to Martigues, Marseilles, because her husband is to be return. In Marseilles, Jouvin finds that his old restaurant La Vraie Bouillabaisse has changed name into La Sole Normande, and his wife Christiane (Claire Maurier) has married again to hardworking André Colombey (Bourvil) from Normandy. If Jouvin used to cook his food with oil, Colombey uses butter only that Jouvin makes a comment: 'So oil is only for cars here?' Later there will be a chaos in the kitchen when Jouvin cooks with oil, because Colombey believes that it's his kitchen.

Jouvin tells Christiane that all this time he suffered in Stalag Siberia. He becomes a sort of hero. There is also a confusion because Jouvin has been declared dead and his name is still on the epitaph ("With the bureaucracy he'll be there for a while"). The priest also says that since Jouvin is still alive, that means Christiane is a bigamist and Colombey is her putative husband. They must have Jouvin signed the divorce papers. At first it seems that Jouvin wants Christiane and his restaurant back, but it turns out he wants her and Colombey to be happy. As the time goes, he and Colombey become great friends.

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