A Slightly Pregnant Man

L'évènement le plus important depuis que l'homme a marché sur la lune

dir. Jacques Demy

TIFF Cinematheque - Retrospective

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Marcello Mastroianni stars in Jacques Demy's extravagantly art-designed satire as a Parisian driving school instructor who suddenly finds himself four months pregnant.

"The unknown masterpiece of Jacques Demy" (Austrian Filmmuseum) and much admired by none other than Jean-Marie Straub, A Slightly Pregnant Man returns in a new print, all the better to enjoy the film's eye-popping palette, keyed to sunburst orange. Marcello Mastroianni stars in this extravagant satire as a Parisian driving school instructor who suddenly finds himself four months pregnant, which naturally shocks his fiancée, a hairdresser with the class-climbing name of Irène de Fontenoy (Catherine Deneuve, quite a sight in super-blonde curls, purple-pink marabou, and tangerine angora). Soon, Marcello's pregnancy ("the most important event since man walked on the moon," as the film's French title has it) creates both major social change — male politicians now become eager to institute programmes for people in "the family way" — and international celebrity for the hapless parent. The colour-coded sets and costumes, Michel Legrand score, and the presence of Deneuve all evoke The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, while Demy's sly jokes about cigarette-addicted doctors, women who discuss philosophy at the beauty salon, and males suddenly concerned about the joys and terrors of pregnancy add larky fun to an often serious satire (though the stereotypes of gay men and lesbians seem at odds with the prevailing generosity).