After all that euphoria around the American series Man Men, retromania is taking over the cinema. The newest contribution to the wave of nostalgia is the French comedy “Populaire” the story of a young secretary with a perky ponytail and the talent of typing 491 keys per minute.
It starts as many films do. The young and beautiful Rose Pamphyle, played by Déborah François, is tired of her parent’s little village in the province and yearns for the modern life and trains to become a secretary. Even though she’s not the most talented one, she wins over a new employee as she types more voraciously than her boss-to-be, Louis (Romain Duris), can speak. But it’s not just a rags to riches story as Rose is put forward for a fast writing contest, to become the fastest (typing!) woman in France. The aim: The World Championships in New York. Training is of course required and over those long office days and late nights training with her boss Louis (who may we add is gorgeous) a little romance ensues.
Yes, the storyline is just what we love to watch on a Friday night but it’s the design that we’re completely obsessed with. French director Régis Roinsard was all about the ‘50s feeling. “I love the design of the time, the fashion, the hair, the colours. I haven’t witnessed the ‘50s, but they touch me,” said Roinsard, “it was after the war, so it was the time of repression but also freedom.”
The movie has more something of an innocent Doris Day comedy than the cynicism of Man Men. Déborah Francois and Romain Duris play that romantic couple with pure French charm, winking and smirking in perfection. With relish the film wallows in pastels and detailed costume eye candy and is a wonderful nostalgic journey. Populaire is a colourful soundtrack of French rock’n’roll mixed with typewriter clattering. It’s no wonder that Roinsard could get most of the team from another French Oscar-winning retro hit – the Artist – under his direction.
So if you’re looking for a film to fill that Amelie hole in your heart, Populaire, might be just the right one for you! Keep an eye out for the beauty when it hits down in cinemas on 31st May.