Beneath the Rooftops of Paris



Agat Films & Cie

Locarno International Film Festival

LOCARNO, Switzerland -- The ponderous and ineffectual story in Hiner Saleem's "Beneath the Rooftops of Paris" tells of an old man, played by Michel Piccoli, as he lives out his last days in the squalid attic rooms of a dilapidated building. Dependant upon Piccoli's ability to hold the camera and some atmospheric Parisian music, the film, screened in Competition here, fails to achieve its clear objective of howling on behalf of the neglected. Commercial prospects do not appear bright.

With insufficient background provided for Piccoli's character, interest in what happens rests on the actor's considerable skills. That works in scenes with Mylene Demongeot, as a waitress friend who loses her job, where the two old pros are a pleasure to watch. Marie Kramer is stranded, however, as a waif who also befriends the old man.

But writer/director Saleem leaves the performers too much to their own devices and there's little involvement beyond the simple fact of sympathy for old folks living in poverty. It's a worthy sentiment but still requiring some kind of story.

Agat Films & Cie
Writer/director: Hiner Saleem
Producers: Dominique Barneaud, Robert Guediguian
Director of photography: Andreas Sinanos
Production designer: Valerie Valero
Music: Doc Mateo & Lily Margot, Foreign Office
Costume designer: Fanny Drouin
Editor: Joelle Hache
Marcel: Michel Piccoli
Therese: Mylene Demongeot
Amar: Maurice Benichou
Julie: Marie Kremer
Bruno: Birol Unel
Matthieu: Rudi Rosenberg
Vincent: Vincent Tepernowski
Running time -- 98 minutes
No MPAA rating