Jean-Paul Rappeneau’s “Bon Voyage” is the sort of movie we don’t see often enough anymore.
A French romantic comedy-mystery-adventure set during the hectic days after Germany’s crushing pre-WWII battlefield victory, it’s brilliantly written and gorgeously mounted. It’s a genre piece full of great actors and fabulous scenery, a rousing, full-blooded entertainment that uses serious themes and events mostly for pure pleasure.
I haven’t had as much fun at a French movie in years – and at precious few American ones, either.
Starring Gerard Depardieu, Isabelle Adjani, Virginie Ledoyen and a superb supporting cast, “Bon Voyage” takes place in the upper-class haunts and boisterous streets of Paris and Bordeaux in June 1940, a time of high crisis. But though this is a subtitled “art film,” it’s devoid of messages, ennui or angst.
Director and co-writer Rappeneau is best known for two superb French literary adaptations, of Edmond Rostand’s “Cyrano de Bergerac” (1990, with Depardieu) and of Jean Giono’s “The Horseman on the Roof” (1995, with Juliette Binoche). But here Rappeneau returns to the breezier mode of his youth, when he wrote masterful comic scripts for director Philippe De Broca, notably the great 1964 thriller spoof “That Man from Rio.”0