Nobody Else But You

22 Oct

Stranded in the snow-capped Alpine town of Mouthe, population 961, writer David Rousseau (Jean-Paul Rouve) is feeling less than inspired. Yet when the beautiful local starlet, weathergirl and cheese model, Candice Lecouer (Sophie Quinton), bearing an uncanny likeness to a certain other bottle-blonde, turns up buried beneath a snow drift clutching a bottle of sleeping pills, things start to look up. For David that is, not so much for Candice.

Directed by Gérald Hustache-Mathieu, Nobody Else But You (Poupoupidou) receives its UK Premiere at the BFI 55th London Film Festival, marrying typically French noir and dark comedy with American kitsch and idol worship.

In a landscape as bleached of colour as our heroine’s hair, David refuses to accept the police’s verdict of suicide as the cause of Candice’s death and begins to delve into the depths of the small town to discover the truth of the beautiful cheese girl. Amidst rumours of clandestine relationships with athletes, novelists and presidents and the discovery of an extensive collection of diaries in her apartment, David’s writerly sensibilities get the better of him and he becomes engrossed in Candice’s life and the remarkable similarities to Ms Marilyn.

Not surprisingly this doesn’t go down well with the folk in Mouthe who see David as a wannabe James Ellroy poking his nose in where he shouldn’t. With tight-lipped townspeople and cut brakes abound – perhaps his suspicions of another Monroe-esque conspiracy are not all that unfounded…

Nobody Else But You pays tribute to all manner of genres, most notably film noir, with a plot and style torn from the pages of pulp fiction, creating a tidy parallel with the protagonist’s own material. Candice tells her story through flashbacks and breathy beyond the grave narration, a tactic that allows the audience to work alongside David as he pieces together her life story. While the style of the film honours its French heritage, particularly with its nonchalant nudity, Candice’s abject adoration and idolisation of Marilyn and the American dream seeps through making Nobody Else But You more a French interpretation of damaged Americana.

Nobody Else But You has already been penned as the French Fargo, partially due to the obvious climactic similarities but also for its darkly comedic approach to horrific crimes. Though it may not quite reach the heights of the Coen Brothers, Nobody Else But You is a captivating whodunit, boasting a well constructed script, beautiful cinematography and a fantastic score, juxtaposing Jose Feliciano’s California Dreamin’  as the soundtrack for a winter wonderland mountain drive.

Nobody Else But You was screened at the 55th BFI London Film Festival (in partnership with American Express) as part of the French Revolutions strand, on Thursday 20 October.

(As featured on thelondonword.com)

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