Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Title Sequence: Populaire

Written/directed by Régis Roinsard with a script by Daniel Presely and Romain CompingtPopulaire is an aesthetically pleasing French rom-com about an incredible typist cum inept secretary (Déborah François) and her determined-to-succeed boss (Romain Duris), the king of mixed signals. Together they enter into a speed typing competition, which were all the rage in the 1950s, apparently. This is a genre that I tend to avoid as it is way overdone in the industry—and therefore has a profusion of reviews out there on the web already—and also because I have a personal dislike for Ye Olde shifty-montage-sex-scene rubbish used in conjunction with boring direction and blatant stereotypes in both the plot and dialogue. That being said...I enjoyed the hell out of this movie. It was adorable, and fluffy stuff in controlled doses can be quite nice. Plus, seeing the charismatic Bérénice Bejo again (whom some of you may remember from my post on The Artist) was a real treat.

Anyhow, I have been meaning to pay homage to inventive title sequences for a while now, and Populaire has given me the perfect opportunity. While I do not know the actual name/s of the creator/s who put it together, the opening for the film is a thing of beauty. It drops little hints as to who the characters are and what events will transpire throughout the narrative. Unfortunately, there is no sign of it on YouTube or other video sharing sites, so I cannot post it here. In my desperation I've had to settle for screencaps—sorry. The movie streams through Netflix, though, if you have an account and wish to take a look. (You'll probably want to after I tell you that Clive Richardson's "Girl On The Calendar" plays throughout the entire sequence. So uplifting!)

Our leading actors, one of whom portrays a cigarette smoker, the other a secretary in a small office.

The colourful hands are a recurring theme throughout the sequence;
a reference to the colour-coated practice keys of a typewriter used within the film.

Dancing, filing, and typing.
This particular font aids in the establishment of the story's overall light-hearted feel.

The first and the third screencap in this set have cleverly used vintage magazine
cover clippings in keeping with the pastel colours in the middle image.
In the actual title sequence, #2 pulls out quickly into #3, placing the viewer
into one of the car seats before switching the perspective to that of a pedestrian.

Typeface is an important theme, given that the plot centers around a typewriting competition.

A necklace of typebars: très cool. Note again how the colour of the font is matched with
others in the image. There is continuity in the background, as well.

That illustration-to-reality match cut, tho. <3
Gif by me.

So, if you are in the mood for a charming love story with some surprisingly touching scenes and witty discourse reminiscent of the classic silver screen romantics, then Populaire will certainly not disappoint. The chemistry between the leading characters is fresh and, more importantly, one does not really have to care about having to suspend belief in order to enjoy the quirky scenarios as the cinematography, set decoration, costume design et al. makes that act enjoyable rather than a chore.

Gif taken from The Weinstein Company.

For further information: