The Boston Phoenix
Review from issue: September 7 - 14, 2000

[Boston Film Festival]

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Venus Beauty Institute

A Phoenix pick

Cosmetician Nathalie Baye likes picking up strangers for casual sex but, leery of love, backs off from the ardent sculptor (Samuel Le Bihan) who pursues her. Meanwhile, she and her co-workers at Bulle Ogier's small Paris beauty salon find it increasingly hard to keep their private lives and their professional roles from mixing. At one point, Ogier advises Baye, "It's better to make up one's mind not to be a girl any longer, because at a certain point, one isn't."

In this crisp, enjoyable movie, director Tonie Marshall builds a delectable world of pastel surfaces and colored lights around her fine ensemble cast (which includes past movie icons Edith Scob, Emmanuelle Riva, and Micheline Presle, Marshall's mother). This world is airy enough for comedy and rich enough to sustain bursts of lyricism and revelations of psychological turmoil -- a pleasing combination reminiscent of Vincente Minnelli, to whom the film might well have been dedicated. Screens tonight at 7:45 and 10:10 p.m. and tomorrow at 11 a.m. and 1:30 and 4:30 p.m.

-- Chris Fujiwara

Film Festival Feature Films

Shadow of the Vampire | Songcatcher | Venus Beauty Institute | What's Cooking? | The Broken Hearts Club | Envy | Goya in Bordeaux | Human Resources | Skipped Parts | Amargosa | Henry Hill | Relative Values | The Rising Place | The Contender | Pitch People | Roof to Roof | Four Dogs Playing Poker | Reckless Indifference | Requiem for a Dream | Shadow Magic | About Adam | Charming Billy | Enemies of Laughter | Into the Arms of Strangers | Running on the Sun | A Trial in Prague | Harry, He's Here to Help | A Man is Mostly Water | Seven Girlfriends

Also, Boston Film Festival short films

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