Julie Delpy delivers a clever, witty, and dark comedy in her latest feature.
“You’re about to see a comedy. I’m sorry”
These are the words that director Julie Delpy used to introduce the screening of her eighth film at Film Society of Lincoln Center’s Rendez-Vous with French Cinema festival. This kind of ironic apology being used as a precursor to her film is a perfect example of Delpy’s brand of sarcastic humor that pervades Lolo.
The story is a seemingly simple one, about a divorced Parisienne, Violette, who is played by Delpy herself. Violette is in her 40s with a young adult son and she struggles to date. At the film’s outset, she is egged into what is intended to be a one night stand while on vacation by her best friend and confidante, the deadpan and vulgar Ariane (Karin Viard). But of course, as we anticipated, this one night stand turns into a full-on romance instantly. The suitor is fellow divorcé Jean-René (Dany Boon). Luckily for Violette, Jean-René is about to move to Paris, and they agree to further pursue their relationship.
This premise seems simple enough, but becomes complicated when Violette’s son Eloi, whom she affectionately has nicknamed Lolo (Vincent Lacoste) turns up at the same time as Jean-René. Immediately, Lolo begins to make things difficult for the two lovebirds in such a way that his doting mother never suspects an ill intent of the son she refers to her as her ‘little alpine bunny’. While the middle-aged divorcés attempting to connect in spite of their children’s best attempts at sabotage is an age old romcom trope, Delpy manages to keep it fresh through sheer wit and through the film’s forays into much darker territory as Violette’s paranoia and Lolo’s possessive psychosis come out to play.
Following the screening, Delpy was present for a Q&A. When asked about the sassy, sarcastic, sometimes vulgar dialogue, she revealed how all of the four major characters had been specifically written for their actors.
“I think it’s very funny when someone is a psychopath,” Delpy said of Lolo’s potentially frightening personality. “I’ve always thought The Shining was a comedy.”
Delpy said one of her goals in making the film a slightly vulgar comedy was to show how women in their 40s were somewhat over the magic of sex and could talk about it in more direct terms. If this film is meant to remove the magical element of sex, it certainly maintains the magic of romance as the love between our protagonists is strongly felt throughout their touching courtship as they overcome the obstacle course Lolo has laid out for them.
Lolo was directed by Julie Delpy, starring herself, Dany Boon, Vincent Lacoste, and Karin Viard. Lolo had its U.S. Premiere at the Rendez-Vous with French Cinema festival at the Film Society of Lincoln Center and is currently playing at Village East Cinema.
Photo credits: Hollywood Reporter.