Dave Karger
October 18, 1996 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Ridicule

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
mpaa
R
runtime
102 minutes
performer
Judith Godreche, Patrice Leconte, Remi Waterhouse
director
Patrice Leconte
distributor
Epithète Films
author
Remi Waterhouse
genre
Drama, Foreign Language

We gave it a B

How do you sell a subtitled French film to American audiences? For the 18th-century costume drama Ridicule (due Nov. 27), Miramax — the same company that pitched Emma as a nighttime soap that just happened to be set in 1816 — has produced two minutes of giggling, gasping, and gesturing that mask the harsh realite of the film’s foreign tongue. We may see star Fanny Ardant’s mouth move, but her words are lost to a Bachlike score. Of course, foreign trailers normally don’t air dialogue, but even film editor Joseph Farnham, who cut the spot, allows that most trailers ”don’t have lips flapping.” That would be, as the French say, ridicule.

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