Avenue Montaigne (Orchestra Seats)
Autumn 2007 Main series
Sunday, December 16, 2007 at 4:00pm
Sunday, December 16, 2007 at 7:00pm
Monday, December 17, 2007 at 7:00pm
Directed by Daniéle Thompson
Starring Cécile De France, Albert Dupontel, Claude Brasseur, Christopher Thompson, Valérie Lemercier, and Sydney Pollack
Rated PG ·
Directed by Daniéle Thompson (Jet Lag), Avenue Montaigne (also known as Orchestra Seats) is the heartwarming story of a young woman who moves to Paris to seek fame and fortune and whose life becomes intertwined with those of the clientele at the café where she works as a server.
Fresh from the provinces, Jessica (Cécile de France, Russian Dolls) arrives in Paris and quickly talks her way into a job at the old-fashioned Bar de Théâtre on the bourgeois Avenue Montaigne. Due to the café’s close proximity to a famous concert hall, a venerable theatre and an auction house, Jessica’s work introduces her to an eclectic mix of stagehands and world-class entertainers. Classical pianist Jean-François Lefort (Albert Dupontel, A Very Long Engagement) is exhausted and stifled by a heavy performance schedule and yearns to escape the formal concert circuit entirely. Meanwhile, business mogul Jacques Grumberg (Claude Brasseur) is about to auction off the art collection he has spent his life acquiring. Grumberg has a rocky relationship with his son, Frédéric (Christopher Thompson, who co-wrote the script with Thompson, his mother).
Hugely popular soap star Catherine (Valérie Lemercier), who longs for glory on the big screen, senses a shot at stardom when she learns the famous American director Brian Sobinksi (Sydney Pollack, Tootsie) is in town casting his new film about Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir. Catherine, Jacques and Jean-François nurse their neuroses at the café, waited on by Jessica, who is entranced by their glamorous lives and dreams of her own success.
Thompson admirably juggles multiple narratives and directs her actors with savvy. The ensemble cast shines throughout, though de France is a particular joy to watch as Jessica, who reacts to the luxury and privilege of the cultural elite with a refreshing, down-to-earth perspective. The humanity and humour of Thompson’s script addresses the transient and ephemeral nature of life with a lightness of touch audiences will find irresistible.