Marie’s Counter

Film editor Sophie Tatischeff, the second oldest child of Jacques Tati, was born during the shooting of Jour de fete and a few years back helped to restore the color version. This 1998 feature, Le comptoir, marks her debut as a director, and to her credit she’s pretty much her own person as a filmmaker. Apart from a penchant for long shots, the only thing Tati-esque about this is its lighthearted nostalgia for traditional French life and its curiosity about the changes brought to it by technology. Marie (Mireille Perrier) purchases a bar for her family’s tavern when she moves into a village in Brittany, and much of the film follows the history of this imposing object and the village, before and after the arrival of electricity, during wartime and the occupation, and after the arrival of tractors. Tatischeff seems more comfortable in portraying the present than in imagining the past, and her film suffers at times from its dispersed focus. But this is a likable, low-key effort with an especially good feel for locale and landscape. 93 min. (JR)

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