Nobody Else but You
8 p.m. Saturday
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
A rather unconventional murder mystery fueled by the power and pain of celebrity, Nobody Else but You plays Saturday night as part of Oklahoma City Museum of Art’s French Cinema Week.
Originally titled Poupoupidou in its native France for reasons that quickly become apparent, writer/director Gérald Hustache-Mathieu’s film stars Jean-Paul Rouve (La vie en rose) as David Rousseau, a crime novelist of some renown traveling to his freshly deceased uncle's winery and home in Mouthe, the coldest town in the country.
En route, the corpse of actress/cheese spokesmodel/weather girl Candice Lecoeur (Sophie Quinton, Who Killed Bambi?) is discovered buried under a sizable snowfall in the woods, and apparently dead due to a pill-induced suicide. Because her body is found outside of legal jurisdiction, her demise remains a mystery. This loophole proves to be the break David’s writer's block needs, especially after a needle mark is found on her arm.
It can’t be accidental that on a policeman's wall hangs a poster for 1913’s Fantomas, the film that introduced French cinema's iconic gentleman thief of the same name. As it turns out, David is a gentleman thief, too, stealing clues from both Candice’s dead body and secret diary for his admirable one-man mission. Through his readings of those purloined pages, David learns — and we see — that the young woman dreamed of being Marilyn Monroe, and in ways largely tragic, succeeded.
Hustache-Mathieu takes the hoary concept of a creatively constipated author and, while not reinventing it, imbues it with quirks aplenty: He has hyperacute hearing! She lived in a cookie factory! The Mouthe discotheque hosts a DJ act named the Oklahoma Bitches!
What Nobody Else but You has going for it most is that it’s not entirely predictable. This is not just because full-frontal floppy males greatly outnumber the anticipated female nudity, but because the story writes itself into such strange, Lynchian destinations in the first half that it has nowhere to go but the expected in its third act, wrapping up with an ending of abrupt emptiness.
Still, all along the way, Hustache-Mathieu offers lovely images, a sympathy-winning Rouve as our surrogate, an adorable performance by Quinton, and the best use of "California Dreamin'" since Wong Kar-Wai rubbed our nose in it with Chungking Express. It’s a most worthy trade-off. —Rod Lott
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• Oklahoma City Museum of Art’s French Cinema Week