La Buche

The directorial debut of French screenwriter Daniele Thompson (Cousin, Cousine, Those Who Love Me Can Take the Train) is set in Paris over a few days before Christmas. (The title refers to a traditional holiday dessert, la buche de Noel.) A recent widow (Francoise Fabian) is consoled by the three daughters from her first marriage, to a Russian-Jewish violinist (Claude Rich). The plot turns on the complicated lives of the daughters, who are played by Sabine Azema, Emmanuelle Beart, and Charlotte Gainsbourg; they, Fabian, and Rich are the main reasons for seeing this picture. Michel Legrand composed the scorewhich is pleasant, though it resembles many of his other scores so closely it hardly sounds originaland we also hear a lot of American pop versions of traditional Christmas tunes. 107 min. (JR)

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