French Twist
Directed byJosiane Balasko
Written byJosiane Balasko
Patrick Aubrée
Telsche Boorman
Produced byPierre Grunstein
Claude Berri
StarringVictoria Abril
Josiane Balasko
Alain Chabat
CinematographyGérard de Battista
Edited byClaudine Merlin
Kako Kelber (co-editor)
Music byManuel Malou
Distributed byAMLF (France)
Miramax Zoë (USA)
Release date
  • 8 February 1995 (1995-02-08)
Running time
104 minutes
CountryFrance
LanguageFrench
Budget$7 million
Box office$75.2 million[1]

French Twist (French: Gazon maudit) is a cult 1995 French comedy film. It was written and directed by Josiane Balasko. The film was one of very few French films to have a dubbed version for English audiences. Its title in French is untranslatable but 'Cursed Lawn' is a close approximation. It also refers to the shaving (or not) of pubic hair, a subtle joke in French alluding to the subject matter of the film.[2][3] The film was selected as the French entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 68th Academy Awards, but was not accepted as a nominee.[4][5]

Plot

Laurent (Alain Chabat) and Loli (Victoria Abril) are a thirty-ish married couple living in southern France with their young children. He is an estate agent; she is a housewife. Laurent has extramarital affairs.

Loli is unaware that her husband is unfaithful. Then one day, a campervan breaks down in front of their house. The driver is Marie-Jo (Josiane Balasko), a 40s-ish butch lesbian who works as a DJ. She asks to use their phone. Loli has a blocked sink, so in exchange for using the phone, Marie-Jo gets Loli's drain back in working order. Loli and Marie-Jo begin an affair. Laurent is upset, but then his friend Antoine (Ticky Holgado) accidentally reveals Laurent's philandering to Loli. This seems to justify her romance. Marie-Jo moves into the house.

Antoine then suggests that Laurent let Loli have her way, cease all hostility, and wait for the affair to burn out. Laurent agrees, and the household becomes a seemingly idyllic ménage à trois. But his strategy has its effect, especially after another lesbian couple, old friends of Marie-Jo, happen by. Laurent welcomes them, but Loli becomes annoyed and jealous.

Marie-Jo decides that the situation is not really going to work. She knows that Laurent wants her to leave. While Loli is away on a trip, Marie-Jo makes a deal with Laurent. She will break up with Loli and leave immediately, if Laurent will give her something she has wanted for years: a baby. Laurent has sex with Marie-Jo to get her pregnant, and Marie-Jo departs before Loli returns. Laurent tells Loli nothing, as agreed with Marie-Jo.

Laurent and Loli settle back down to their old life, but their relationship has been deeply affected. Then Loli hears from a mutual acquaintance that Marie-Jo is living in Paris and is several months pregnant. Loli is astonished and shocked. She insists that she and Laurent go to Paris and contact Marie-Jo. They find her working as a DJ in a lesbian dance club. Their intrusion provokes a quarrel with the club owner, who fires Marie-Jo. Loli and Laurent take her back to their home, where she has her baby.

The ménage à trois is re-established, with the two mothers caring for their children. As Laurent goes to buy a bigger a house, he finds the seller, a handsome Spaniard (Miguel Bosé), in his swimming pool. The two then share a breakfast while gazing into each other's eyes.

Cast

Development

Josiane Balasko called making a film involving lesbianism "a difficult challenge, since all I had as references on the subject were movies made mostly by men about men; male homosexuality has been shown on the screen thoroughly, unlike lesbianism, which has been kept silent and taboo."[6]

The film was presented to the Chicago International Film Festival, in October 1995.

With her nomination to the César Award for Best Director, Josiane Balasko is the sixth woman in history to be nominated in this category, after Ariane Mnouchkine, Agnès Varda, Coline Serreau, Christine Pascal and Nicole Garcia.

Awards

Award Category Recipient Result
53rd Golden Globe Awards Best Foreign Language Film Josiane Balasko Nominated
21st César Awards Best Film Josiane Balasko Nominated
Best Actor Alain Chabat Nominated
Best Supporting Actor Ticky Holgado Nominated
Best Director Josiane Balasko Nominated
Best Writing Josiane Balasko and Telsche Boorman Won
Lumiere Awards Best Screenplay Josiane Balasko Won
Palm Springs International Film Festival Audience Award - Best Foreign Language Film Josiane Balasko Won
GLAAD Media Award Outstanding Film – Limited Release Josiane Balasko Nominated
Festival du Film Francophone In Competition Josiane Balasko Nominated

See also

References

  1. ^ "Gazon maudit (1995)". JP Box Office. Retrieved 2 August 2015.
  2. ^ "Gazon Maudit | WordReference Forums". forum.wordreference.com. Retrieved 26 May 2015.
  3. ^ "About Gazon maudit . . ". www.bostonphoenix.com. Archived from the original on 26 May 2015. Retrieved 26 May 2015.
  4. ^ Margaret Herrick Library, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
  5. ^ "41 to Compete for Foreign Language Oscar Nominations". FilmFestivals.com. Archived from the original on 7 April 2012. Retrieved 4 October 2015.
  6. ^ "Les secrets de tournage du film Gazon maudit".