Director: Christophe Barratier
Cast: Gerard Jugnot, Clovis Cornillac, Nora Arnezeder
Other: Original Music: Reinhardt Wagner; Cinematography: Tom Stern
Year and Running Time: France 2008, 120 minutes
Year Screened: 2010
A man is charged with murder. He is Pigoil, the ageing stage manager at Chansonia, a music hall in a Paris faubourg. His confession is a long flashback to New Year’s Eve, 1935, when he discovers his wife is unfaithful and Galapiat, the local mobster closes the music hall. Over the next few months, Pigoil loses custody of his beloved son, Jo-Jo, and must find work. Pigoil and his pals take over the Chansonia as a co-op; Galapiat is momentarily benign. Their star is the young Douce, a girl from near Lille for whom Galapiat lusts. She in turn falls in love with Milou, a local Leftist. There are ups and downs, but mostly ups - but what about Jo-Jo and what about the murder?
If this film had been produced 60 to 70 years ago, it probably would have been directed by Jean Renoir and starred Jean Gabin as one of the central figures. ‘Faubourg 36’ is set at a time when political tensions were at a boiling point between the French Left and their ultra conservative right wing opponents (who would eventually embrace the Nazi party when Hitler marched into Paris in the 1940s). The film is served by a lively cast, particularly Nora Arnezeder, who perform the songs in the film themselves.