The Hairdresser’s Husband (DVD)

The Hairdresser’s Husband (Le mari de la coiffeuse) is a 1990 film by Patrice Leconte, whom individuals may know as the director of 1978’s Les Bronzés, 1985’s Les Spécialistes and 1989’s Monsieur Hire. Leconte is interesting because of the wide array of genres in which ey works; the aforementioned Les Bronzés is a comedy, 1996’s Ridicule is a period piece, and The Hairdresser’s Husband showcases Leconte’s ability to go beyond genre conventions in creating a film that is operates on a number of distinct levels. Jean Rochefort (Que la fête commence, Le Crabe-tambour) plays the lead role as Antoine.

Antoine’s life really is a set of repeating events that showcases how there is both serious similarity and difference to be had over the course of one’s time on earth. Set up in a serious of flashbacks, The Hairdresser’s Husband is based on Antoine’s obsession with hairdressers. This attraction has been a constant throughout the entirety of Antoine’s existence, as one of Antoine’s first crushes focused on a hairdresser that committed suicide. This desire manifests itself again in Antoine’s later life, as ey happens upon Mathilde (Anna Galiena, known for Jamón, jamón, and Being Human) and starts a relationship. Mathilde and Antoine’s love knows no bounds, and while surprising, Mathilde’s suicide makes perfect sense. This is because that the two share a love that is so intense that Mathilde knows that losing it would be an unbearable sort of pain.

The Severin release of The Hairdresser’s Husband uses English subtitles to ensure that all understand what exactly is going on, while unlike many transfers of rare or foreign movies, there are a number of substantive and interesting extras to be had. “Leconte on Leconte Part 1” is a rare view into the mind of the director, as more than just this film is covered. This featurette feels more like a guide for anyone that wishes to get into Leconte’s extensive corpus, but should be understood as essential viewing for anyone that picks this film up. In a more specific vein, the interview with Anna Galiena (“The Hairdresser’s Recollections”)gives viewers much more of a sense on how the star and the director’s desires for the movie varied. Overall, a great package from Severin, and one that any fan of cinema that differs from the norm should pick up.

Rating: 8.5/10

The Hairdresser’s Husband (DVD) / 2009 Severin Films / 82 Minutes / http://www.severin-films.com

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