Venus Beauty Institute

Personally, I’d call the translated title Venus Beauty Salon, because it’s about the women who work at a somewhat tacky Parisian beauty parlora place where something sounding like a harp glissando is heard every time the front door opens. Written and directed by Tonie Marshalla former actress who’s the daughter of French star Micheline Presle and American actor-director William Marshallit won Cesars (the French Oscars) last year for best picture, director, screenplay, and young actress. Though I wouldn’t call it sensational enough to warrant such a sweep, it’s a pretty good chronicle of a certain phase of French working-class life, evocative at times of Claude Chabrol’s Les bonnes femmes and very much enhanced by such wonderful actors as Nathalie Baye and Bulle Ogier. The others, including Samuel Le Bihan, Jacques Bonnaffe, Mathilde Seigner (sister of Emmanuelle), and Audrey Tautou, aren’t bad either. 105 min. (JR)

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