Sometimes there is nothing better than settling down to watch a good movie, especially if the movie features beautiful costumes and sets. I had seen Populaire a few times, and with the handy assistance of screen-shots, I decided to put a little post together here.
Directed by Regis Roinsard, the film was made in 2012. The movie stars Romain Duris, Deborah Francois and Berenice Bejo. The plot follows Rose (Deborah Francois), as she becomes Louis’ secretary, set in the years 1958-1959. Impressed by Rose’s typing abilities, Louis decides to enter Rose into speed typing competitions, first regionally, nationally, and eventually globally.
Upon watching this movie a few times, the character of Louis strikes me as extremely controlling, to the point where I actually feel uncomfortable looking at him. The movie does has chauvinistic undertones, however this unfortunately probably reflects the realities of what life may have been like as a woman in the late 1950s. (Although Louis’ utter control over Rose is exaggerated to facilitate the plot).
Whilst the film may highlight the inequalities between the sexes during the late 1950s, it also draws attention to the excitement and opportunities the workplace offered women. When Rose is offered a position as a secretary in the city, she dreams of a new life – away from the small village she knows. This is a scene that many of us can relate to, and I love the fact that Rose collects fashion magazines, dreaming of a new, exciting life.
The film also resonated with me, as when I was 16, my mother encouraged me to learn to touch-type (back then, like Rose, I dreamt of becoming a secretary. But my creative side overruled, and I decided to enter higher education – not looking back since!) When I was learning to touch-type, I found it extremely difficult. I tried to give-up a few times, but my mother always persuaded me to persevere. Happily, nowadays, I can touch-type – and it has definitely helped me with my writing work and assignments!
(PS – buy/view Jennifer Lauren’s Gable top sewing pattern here.) Visually, the film is stunning. Many of Rose’s costumes are typical of the earlier 1950s, reflecting her provincial upbringing. As she progresses with her typing accomplishment’s, her costumes and styling become more sophisticated. Also – for fans of vintage spectacle frames – this film is a wonderful resource! During the typing competitions, many of the competitors sport glasses, allowing a great opportunity to glean inspiration.
The movie is French, with subtitles (so it is not a movie you can put on then do other things to – ie sewing. You have to actually sit and watch the screen!) As the movie is French, I particularly enjoyed the utilisation of the fashion magazine Le Petit Echo de la Mode – as I have a sizeable collection of issues!
For a colourful sojourn into late 1950s styling, Populaire is the perfect movie. Particularly if you ignore/thrown popcorn at the screen whenever Louis is being a complete idiot (although – don’t throw popcorn, you won’t have any left to actually eat! Ha ha!)
I purchased Populaire on DVD a few years ago, but it is probably still available on Amazon and such-like.
All images are from screen-shots of the movie that I took myself, then cropped/edited for the purpose of this review.
Have you seen Populaire? What did you think?
Until next time dears!