Confidentially Yours (USA title - original French title: Vivement dimanche!, known as Finally, Sunday! in other English-speaking markets and translations thereof in other markets) is a 1983 French film directed by François Truffaut. It is based on the novel The Long Saturday Night, by the American author Charles Williams, and was Truffaut's last film. He died the next year, aged 52, after being diagnosed with a brain tumor. The film had a total of 1,169,635 admissions in France.
Source : Wikipedia
If you terrifically admire the work of a particular director, as I admire the films of Francois Truffaut, who has made more certifiable classics than any other French director of his generation, with the exception of Jean-Luc Godard, you tend to feel he's obliged always to equal if not to top himself. That's not being reasonable or fair, but it explains the special disappointment when a new work doesn't measure up to expectations.
This is pretty much my reaction to Mr. Truffaut's latest comedy, ''Confidentially Yours'' (titled ''Vivement Dimanche'' in France), which opens today at the Paris Theater.
''Confidentially Yours,'' based on Charles Williams's American mystery novel ''The Long Saturday Night,'' is a bright, knowing, somewhat too affectionate variation on the sort of bloodless murder mysteries that were as much a staple of Hollywood production schedules in the 1930's and 40's as they were of the lending libraries of that era. It falls somewhere between the Nancy Drew stories and the film adventures of Nick and Nora Charles that were spun off from Dashiell Hammett's ''Thin Man.''
Barbara Becker, played by the dark-haired, full-lipped, ravishingly beautiful Fanny Ardant, the star of Mr. Truffaut's ''Woman Next Door,'' is the wise, sarcastic, self-assured secretary to Julien Vercel (Jean- Louis Trintignant), a real-estate broker in a small town in the south of France. When, in the course of several hours, Julien's wife's lover is found murdered and then his wife, Julien becomes the chief suspect.
Because he must go into hiding, it is Barbara who becomes the amateur gumshoe who clears her boss, an assignment she accepts even though Julien has just dismissed her. The dismissal is, of course, a joke. Barbara has secretly loved Julien for months, even though she's aware that he prefers cheeky, rather cheap-looking blondes to classic brunettes with heads on their shoulders.
That the mystery of ''Confidentially Yours'' isn't especially mysterious is not important. The adventures of Nick and Nora Charles never exactly freighted the brain, but they had style and, as played by the incomparable William Powell and Myrna Loy, the amateur detectives were hugely appealing. What I find most mysterious about ''Confidentially Yours'' is the attraction the piece has obviously had for Mr. Truffaut.
In earlier films like ''Shoot the Piano Player,'' ''The Bride Wore Black'' and the vastly underrated ''Mississippi Mermaid,'' he has transformed not especially promising pulp fiction into films of a unique wit, style and perspective, movies that discovered levels of feeling and intelligence that had nothing to do with the source material.
In ''Confidentially Yours,'' Mr. Truffaut has not made any kind of comment on the original fiction. Rather he has re-created it without adding anything of particular interest, except a series of references to other movies and movie makers he has admired. There is absolutely no sense of the cosmic void that in the past has set off even the sweetest of Mr. Truffaut's comedies, including ''Stolen Kisses.'' Unlike his ''Last Metro,'' which managed to be both a romantic melodrama and a series of comments on romantic melodrama, this film is so flat and perfunctory that, in my shock, I have the terrible feeling I've missed the point.
Though ''Confidentially Yours'' means, I think, to be romantic, there is virtually no visible rapport between Miss Ardant and Mr. Trintignant, who is also an attractive performer. For reasons I don't understand, their scenes together seem less romantic than worrying. One is aware that the director's sense of fun is not reaching the screen, so all that one is conscious of are two good actors more or less playing down to tiny characters. The impulse then is to take them and their absurd situations far more seriously than anyone intended.
Next to the spirited, sexy performance by Miss Ardant, the best thing in the movie is the almost comically functional black-and-white photography by Nestor Almendros.
No Truffaut film is without its gloriously funny touches, but the ones in ''Confidentially Yours'' are a series of isolated smiles of recognition, leading nowhere.
''Confidentially Yours,'' which has been rated PG (''Parental Guidance Suggested''), contains some mildly vulgar language that, because the French dialogue is translated by English subtitles, will be understood only by people old enough to read.
© Vincent Canby, "The New York Times", Jan. 20, 1984
Source : nytimes.com