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Paris 36

A music hall struggles to stay alive in Paris between the wars

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This backstage musical comedy from Christophe Barratier isn't content simply to ply the genre's chief attractions: pretty people falling in love, lively songs, quirky characters and the perennial woes of staging a successful revue during tough economic times. Set in a working-class Parisian neighborhood in 1936, the film interweaves weightier social and political threads including the conflict between burgeoning socialist and nationalist groups, fathers' rights and anti-Semitism. Some of these issues will soon turn horrific as the war we know is coming gets going. But for now, poking fun at (or working for) the fascists seems relatively harmless. Barratier keeps the goings-on mostly light (even as the film opens with a murder confession), and some of the songs are a delight. In French, with subtitles. Starts Fri., May 8. Manor

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