Mariages ! (2004)

Original Title : Mariages!
Director : Valérie Guignabodet
Writer : Valérie Guignabodet
Genre : Comedy
Country : France
Language : French
Producer : Philippe Godeau
Music : Fabrice Aboulker
Photography : Pierre Aïm
IMDB ID : 0388242
Official site :
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poster for "Mariages !" by Valérie Guignabodet (2004)
Mariages ! (2004) - Valérie Guignabodet


Mathilde Seigner Valentine
Jean Dujardin Alex
Miou-Miou Gabrielle
Didier Bezace Pierre
Lio Micky
Antoine Duléry Hugo
Chloé Lambert Johanna
Alexis Loret Benjamin
Catherine Allégret Chantal Dupré
Michel Lagueyrie Jacques Dupré
Beata Nilska Ingrid, la cantatrice
Marianne Groves La cousine de Ben
Frederic Maramber Le cousin de Ben (as Frédéric Maranber
Michel Dussarat Roberta, le travesti
Gilles Gaston-Dreyfus Le curé
Simon Astier Nicola
Pascal Carré .... The Photografer) 
Claire Johnston La tante anglaise
Jemmy Walker La grand-mère


The film is an essay on marriages. Robert Altman tried to do the same in "A Wedding" and ended up with a delectably visual and aural feast that missed your heart by a mile. Altman tried to approach the subject as a black comedy, while this French film reaches out truthfully to lay bare all the charades between man and woman as seen through the lives of different married couples over a couple of days. Altman is a man, Valerie Guignabodet is a woman--viva la difference! Guignabodet unlike Altman is not worried about the ceremony--she is more interested in dissecting the cadaver as in an autopsy. In the end, her shot of the bride's mother walking away taking the middle path (literally and figuratively) away from it all is a masterstroke. The end, in some ways, is better than the rest of the film because it makes a mute statement. (Remember the end of Mazursky's "An Unmarried Woman"?) The rest of the film belongs to the actors--the most underrated actress in the world Miou-Miou (see her in Claude Miller's "Dites-lui que je l'aime" or that brilliant "Netoyages a sec") and the arresting Mathilde Seigner. True they have great lines but they make the characters leap out the screen, however small (a teeny weeny Air France seat TV screen in my case). The film is unusual--it has sex but never shows it, it is only aural. The film captures the effect it has on others. The social jibes at the British (thru a fictional Kenneth Branagh who never appears) and the East Europeans (a Pole who is seen as Russian) could easily have been an Altman effect, but director Guignabodet is able hit you below the belt as she makes jabs after jabs at various social institutions, e.g., replacing the wedding march music with pathos, the best man who forgets the rings, traditional marriages compared to modern ones, role of gays vs. heterosexuals at marriages. A true blue-blooded French film, if ever there was one.