Wednesday, February 16, 2011

L’Associé (1979)

Michel Serrault's face in this movie is almost without feeling, so it's not easy to see immediately that this is a comedy. The story itself is funny.

How to say no to someone if you feel bad inside? Easy, just tell him/her that the decision has been made by your associate. Julien Pardot (Michel Serrault) has lost his job in an ad agency. "You are daydreamer. I myself will keep you, but my associate has made the decision." - that's his boss says, more or less. His friend asks him, "What skill do you have?" "None." "Then you must become a financial consultant" Really? So a financial consultant is someone who can't work anywhere else? :-)

At first there is no client, so Pardot invents an associate, an English businessman named W.C. Davis. Pardot can always give excuses why Davis cannot come. With
inheritance from an uncle, Pardot buys his first shares, and his instinct proved to be great. The news spread from mouth to mouth. Clients flow to his office, so does money. Meanwhile, stories about Davis are circulated. "Mr X was with him in Cambridge." "This is Davis's baby. He promised to give me money." "Mr Davis gave me this ring." "My friends say you are nothing without Mr Davis, Dad. They say you stole from him." Until Pardot cannot take it anymore and decides to kill his imaginary associate.

He is surprised when he is arrested for murdering Davis. The police won't believe him. Meanwhile, his clients are gone and the stock market collapses because of Davis's death. His secretary, who was with Minister of Finance in the army, goes to see the Minister and asks if he wants to restore the situation. Voilà, the next morning the newspaper reports that Davis is still alive, Pardot is released from police custody, and the business continues as before; but this time Pardot shares the secret with his secretary and his wife.

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