Through Two Peepers in Tune with the Times


A Review by Peter Stack

(Comedy starring Jean-Pierre Cassel, Marie-France Pisier, Dolores Chaplin, Bruce Campbell. Directed by Jean-Philippe Toussaint. In French with English subtitles. Not rated. 80 mins. At Rafael Film Center.)

``The Ice Rink´´ a new film from France, is a riotous comedy about the travails encountered by a film crew trying to shoot a feature about a romance between an international ice-skating star and a hunky hockey player. What makes this charming film a great comedy, reminiscent at times of the Jacques Tati style, is that it was shot on ice, and the stars, director, film crew and gofers slip and slide all over the place.

Novelist and director Jean-Philippe Toussaint (Monsieur, La Sevillane) turns his modest production into an inventive, utterly amusing homage to the tricky process of making movies, and to the resilience of casts and crews who will do almost anything to get that special shot capturing ``the moment.´´ But Toussant wisely never pushes a scene to overkill.

``The Ice Rink´´ has a winning cast that adds greatly to the vitality and the satire. Tom Novembre plays the dour, full-of-himself director who constantly tries to keep his composure while his ankles wobble from the awkward ice skates he has to wear. The romantic leading lady, a famed figure skater, is stunningly played by Dolores Chaplin, svelte granddaughter of Charlie Chaplin. American Bruce Campbell is cast as a deep-voiced hockey hulk, Sylvester, who falls for the figure skater. And Marie-France Pisier is the nervous producer trying to wrap the picture to meet a deadline for the Venice Film Festival.

Some scenes are sheer delights. In one, the lighting crew accidentally melts the entire rink. In another, a determined cinematographer gets busted up on a collision of skittering skaters and rigs. This movie contains some nudity.


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