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Catherine’s a hit on TV; she’s famous, popular, adored. And yet, all she dreams of is to be in art-house movies and appreciated by the intellectual set. Tonight, she’s performing in her 100th episode; during the day she’s rehearsing a play at the Champs- Élysées Theater. She’s overworked, but the play opens on the 17th and one’s got to be on form to play Feydeau, even if one prefers Sartre! On the 17th, Jean-François, an exceptionally gifted, adulated, overbooked pianist, will be playing Beethoven next door in the world’s greatest theater, with the best musicians, the most refined audience… And yet, all he dreams about is solitude, freedom, and an ignorant and naïve audience. Jacques’s whole life has been spent looking for and discovering artists, and raiding his piggy-bank to accumulate rare works. But come the 17th, he’s going to sell everything. In one night, his life’s work will be scattered to the four winds. His grandmother, a former palace toilet attendant, told him: “I didn’t have the means to live in luxury, so I decided to work in luxurious surroundings.” One day, Jessica also tries her luck in Paris. On the 17th, staff are needed and she’s hired in a café opposite the two theaters and the auction house. It’s here that the actress, pianist, waitress, concierge, collector, one of their son’s, and another one’s wife, come to heal their neurosis over a coffee or some frites. Confronted by this world that she thought was a paradise, the illusions of positive and lucid Jessica are shattered, only to be replaced by the key to a new life. One must be careful about orchestra seats: if they’re too far away, you miss the show, but if they’re too close, everything’s blurred.
March 14, 2006
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