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"DELIGHTFULLY PLAYFUL, PLAYFULLY IMAGINATIVE. Le Grand Amour has a directness and comic purity that a child would enjoy, with double takes, physical bits of business and slapstick that show Mr. Etaix’s debt to great clowns of silent cinema like Buster Keaton. Sprinkled throughout, though, are involved passages that spin gloriously, surrealistically, off the narrative rails."
-- Manohla Dargis, The New York Times
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(1969) The subjective/ subjunctive constantly becomes concrete for businessman Pierre Etaix: at his wedding to Annie Fratellini (Mme. Etaix, and France’s first female circus clown), all the girls he could have married appear begowned beside him at the ceremony; his best friend gives worldly advice on how to handle that 15-year-itch when miniskirted, barely legal secretary Nicole Calfan is hired: as old ladies’ gossip escalates, so do the reenactments of the original, innocent encounter; as Pierre finally dates his young secretary, shop talk ages him before her eyes; and, in a fabulous dream sequence, Etaix’s bed suddenly takes off down the road, stopping to pick up a nightied Courcel and whizzing past other beds stopped for repairs, having accidents, or carrying aromatic farm débris… Etaix’s last, most cohesive, and greatest feature, written, as always, with Jean-Claude Carrière. Approx. 87 min. 35mm.


Plus Academy Award-winning short Heureux Anniversaire (1962): stop-motion traffic jams, wolfpack parkers, flying shaving cream, and more, all delay Etaix en route to that special dinner, only to find... Approx. 12 min. 35mm.




****! [4 stars]
"There’s a tendency on the part of us film geeks to think that we have discovered all the masters.. so it’s always a pleasure when our arrogance gets punctured and someone who’s regrettably slipped through the cracks is pushed back into view—a service that Film Forum is graciously providing for Gallic actor and filmmaker Pierre Etaix. You’ll spot the DNA of everybody from Tati to Tashlin and Tex Avery… the surreal comic tangents that Etaix and longtime cowriter Jean-Claude Carrière deliver are pure sow’s-ear silk, from a literalization of splitting joint possessions down the middle to an extended beds-as-cars sequence that predicts Michel Gondry’s whimsical-absurdist aesthetic."

– David Fear, Time Out New York

"WONDROUSLY COMICAL! Etaix satirizes the marmoreal chill of the bourgeoisie, the small-town gossip mill, and, above all, the absurd yet agonized, blundering yet callous delusions of desire. His humor is as exquisitely intricate as it is anarchically devastating."
– Richard Brody, The New Yorker
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“Comic cinema was born in France with the advent of film and Méliès. It is reborn with Pierre Etaix. His long ascension, patient and carefully thought out, is a real phenomenon. With no need for swashbuckling or swordplay, scandal or gossip, Etaix has captured his audience. He has no particular secret, apart from a heightened sensibility, an acute vision of the world, of people… Etaix and Carrière have constructed a portrait of family life, brimful with comic invention, eschewing showiness and, above all, without borrowing from existing films. If one invented the term ‘Comic New Wave,’ Le Grand Amour would fit it perfectly.”
– Samuel Lachize, L’Humanité

“The funniest and most lyrical of Etaix’s films… In the tradition of Max Linder and Chaplin, but with such a light touch that we would recognize the name of the auteur even if it wasn’t in the credits.”
– Nobel laureate François Mauriac, Le Figaro