Belgian Dominique Abel and his Australian wife Fiona Gordon are probably the best burlesque couple in movies today. Both rather angular and gaunt, this odd looking pair who are such gifted physical comedians would undoubtedly be super stars in old Hollywood where are any form of slapstick was both loved and respected.
In their latest, and probably their best film that as usual they have written and directed, Gordon plays Fiona, a shy lonely librarian who lives in a small sleepy snowy Canadian town. When she was a girl her rather daring Aunt Martha (Emmanuelle Riva) set off a new and exciting life in Paris leaving Fiona alone with her dreams. Now years later she receives a note from Martha out of the blue asking her to come to her rescue as the French Authorities now want to stick her in a home f0r Seniors. So Fiona packs her bright red knapsack and sets out for Paris but when she arrives Martha is not home and also is not answering her phone.
Left to her own resources Fiona sets out to be a dutiful tourist which turns into a whole series of mis-adventures, one of which has her falling into the Seine and losing her backpack carrying all her worldly possessions. Whilst she is now bedraggled, broke, homeless and lost and receiving no real help from a less than sympathetic Canadian Embassy official, a hobo who camps out on the side of the river and feeds himself from restaurant trash bins, has a stroke of unexpected luck. When Dom (played by Abel) discovers that the red knapsack he has fished out of the Seine contains a nice wad of cash he uses this to buy himself a decent meal at the same restaurant that Fiona is dining courtesy of the Meal Voucher the Embassy reluctantly gave her.
It is the first of many coincidences that litter this hilarious farce where their paths keep crossing with each other as well as with the elusive Martha who is on the run less the Authorities catch her. The plot is full of some very funny sight gags like when Dom, now doggedly stalking Fiona since he has decided that she and he would make a perfect romantic pair, delivers a bizarre eulogy at what they both think is Martha’s funeral. She is however very much alive and well and flirting with her old beau Duncan (Pierre Richard) as they do a charming soft shoe shuffle together in the Père Lachaise Cemetery.
It is a rather silly plot but nevertheless it enables Abel and Gordon to really shine, and as does the delightful veteran Riva finally doing a comedy in what turns out to be one of her very last movies before she died.
If you liked their previous movie The Fairy (as much as we did) then you will love this deliciously absurdist comedy.