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July 17, 2007

DVD of the Week – Avenue Montaigne (2006)


Avenue Montaigne is the type of new movie that is best suited to DVD release. It received the limited American theatrical distribution that is typical for a mainstream foreign film. Meaning while it was a commercial success by the standards of foreign film releases, there’s a significant potential audience that wasn’t reached by the theatrical showings.

That audience has DVD players and Netflix subscriptions or library cards or a few discretionary dollars to spend in the video section of their local bookstore. And Avenue Montaigne isn’t a movie that demands the theatrical experience. It’s unexceptional in its visual aspects and I’d guess it will suffer as little as any contemporary film could from being shrunk to TV size. The appeal lies in the script and performances, aspects that will translate well to American living rooms.

The movie itself is a brisk and likable crowd-pleaser, an unabashed love letter to Paris and the arts. It trades on stereotypes of the temperamental artiste and the arts milieu of collectors and hangers-on, but in a goodnatured and, yes, likable way. Although it flirts with weighty themes of the significance of the arts in public life and personal fulfillment, ultimately Avenue Montaigne is content to remain comedic and superficial. This is a movie sure to please arts lovers, Francophiles and anyone with fond memories of Paris.

The DVD has no special features, as far as I could determine.

Original Commentary Track review of Avenue Montaigne by Helen Geib.

Other new releases this week: Factory Girl, The Hills Have Eyes 2, Premonition