Beau Pere (1981)

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Avg Rating: 4.5 / 5. Voted: 53

No one cared thus far. Do you?

AKA: Stepfather
Year: 1981
Directed by: Bertrand Blier
Starring: Patrick Dewaere (Remi), Ariel Besse (Marion), Maurice Ronet (Marion’s biological Dad Charly)
Country: France
Language: French (English subtitles)
Runtime: 01:59:12
Genres: Old-Young, Incest

Plot – Spoilers:
Remi is a cynical depressed pianist who works at a posh French restaurant and is married to a small-time model Martine who has recently taken up lingerie shoots to offset their precarious financial situation. Remi is hitting 30 and is convinced he’s a failure with no hope of redeeming a career that was full of promise at a younger age. Their marriage too has hit rock bottom with the two hardly ever seeing each other – as Remi puts it, When I get home at night, you’re asleep. When you awake, I’m asleep.

Martine has a 14 year-old daughter Marion from a previous marriage to night club owner Charly. Marion has been raised by Remi from the age of 6 and so when Martine suddenly dies in an accident, Marion opts to stay on with Remi despite Charly offering to care for her. The Remi-Marion relationship from Remi’s point of view initially appears non-sexual. He looks at her fatherly and sees in her innocence, someone who cares and acknowledges him and his music that few give a damn about. But soon things get weird and complicated when Marion unconditionally expresses her love for him in a non-daughterly way….

Favourite Scenes:
1. Remi has taken Marion moving out badly and is sitting lonely and miserable in his apartment when she returns. Can’t even be miserable in peace is his state of mind when he hears the bell ringing. The fact that she has chosen him over her biological Dad gives him a new zest for life and he even perks up, especially when she asks him to fight for her. It makes him feel like a man again and feel wanted. When Charly arrives to take Marion back, the two get into an awkward fight that’s funny; but what’s funnier is when they sit together, bruised and hilariously sheepish as Marion patches them up.

2. When Marion unburdens herself to Remi:
Over the course of the interactions where Marion lets Remi know about her sexual urges, his primary issue is not that she is like a daughter whom he therefore cannot imagine being sexually attracted to. Rather, it’s about their age difference and what Martine, if she were alive, would have had to say about the relationship. In fact, just before Marion tells him her feelings for the first time, you can clearly see him checking her out as she walks away from his bed. So it’s fairly possible that Remi had been attracted to her as she grew up but suppressed these feelings out of guilt and shame.

The first two times when Marion talks to Remi about her feelings are separated by a short scene of Remi playing the piano with uncharacteristic wild abandon, which is kind of funny.

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