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Raoul and Félix both made unlucky marriages. Their wives have left them. Drowning their sorrows in a bar, they meet a travelling salesman who urges them to do like him and hit the road, selling wine. Lured by adventure, they leave their problems in Paris and set off for the fresh air of Brittany. But business is bad until they meet Eliane, a Brittany girl with a heart of gold and a generous figure.
I would have liked to dedicate this film to the memory of Gilles Grangier, as a tribute to French movies before the Nouvelle Vague. I love the films of Grangier, Christian Jaque, Becker, Duvier, Autant-Lara, and all those great French directors that are only now, at last, considered to be something other than studio hacks. In terms of tastes and interests, that’s where I place myself. What’s more, I think it was the only intelligent way to put Laspalès and Chevallier across on screen. They’re not hip, not up to date—you might say they’ve been with us forever. They incarnate the French-style comedy team, which goes back a long way to Bac and Laverne, Darrigade and Fouziquet and the Frères Ennemis, who I love. I wanted to place them in that special visual tradition, to make a movie based on dialog and actors rather than characters. When people went to see actors like Jouvet and Simon, they couldn’t have cared less whether the part called for a Russian prince or a bum—people went to see Jouvet or Simon. It’s more or less the same thing here. Chevallier and Laspalès have a timing which absolutely rules out a music-video pace, which means the director must favor the actors over characterization and editing. (Jean-Pierre Jackson in “Première,” August 1998)