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Requiem pour un fou

Jean-Claude Lother/Pathé

Rock'n Roll (2017)

Guillaume Canet directs, co-writes and stars in "Rock'n Roll," a navel-gazing musical satire on the French film industry that centers on him and real-life partner, Marion Cotillard.

After a much-younger costar (Camille Rowe) breaks the news to him that he's no longer a cinematic sex symbol, the plot thrusts Guillaume (Mr. Canet) into full midlife crisis, partying and carousing until embarrassing cell phone footage of his debauchery ends up on YouTube and shooting up Botox to a point that jeopardizes the continuity of his new film. He's still able to line up directorial projects thanks to his Oscar-winning girlfriend, Marion (Ms. Cotillard), but she's preoccupied with mastering a Quebecois accent (and doing Céline Dion tributes) in preparation for an upcoming film role.

The film gets increasingly absurd à la Charlie Kaufman mode, with Guillaume and Marion ultimately moving to the States to star in the "Crocodile Rangers" TV series. But the Kaufmanesque meltdown here doesn't lead to Kaufmanesque revelations. For those uninitiated into French cinema, the film's parade of celebrity cameos will do little to distract from its lack of substance. The significance of the title as embodied by Johnny Hallyday seems debatable, since his eternal coolness is here depicted as pathetic both in concept and in practice. And if the ending is meant as a dig on the American film industry, “Rock’n Roll” renders that point moot.


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