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The opening credits here are groovy but misleading: a series of Richard Avedon-like photographs of Catherine Deneuve looking mid-'60s cool (complete with swinging Michel Legrand music). Actually, La Vie de Chateau is set just before D-day, 1944, on a large estate near the landing beaches. The divine Deneuve is a bored wife, whose wealthy husband (the great Philippe Noiret) wants the quiet country life. Arriving on the scene are a dashing Resistance fighter (Henri Garcin), scouting the area, and a German officer--and both swoon over the blond mistress of the chateau. Director Jean-Paul Rappeneau, best known for his Cyrano de Bergerac with Gerard Depardieu, displays a kicky style that might seem inappropriate for the subject, but the film is a complete delight: full of unexpected sight gags and New Wavey spirit. The D-day climax is both uproarious and redemptive. This film needs to be better known outside France.

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newVHS La Vie Chateau VHS (1965/Catherine Deneuve) $12.99