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AND NOW LADIES AND GENTLEMEN

Sparks fly when a British jewel thief walks into a Moroccan piano bar and exchanges glances with a soulful French singer, and it looks as if they may spend a torrid night together. But if they do, they may not remember a thing the next morning. That’s because each of these potential lovers is burdened with major memory deficit.

CAST: Jeremy Irons, Patricia Kaas, Thierry Lhermitte, Allesandra Martines, Claudia Cardinale, Ticky Holgad, Yvan Attal, Amidou

DIRECTOR: Claude Lelouch

"If Claude Lelouch had made only one movie — ‘A Man and a Woman,’ his wildly popular 1966 romance starring Jean-Louis Trintignant and Anouk Aimée — he would be assured at least a footnote in cinema history…But it is not altogether clear, based on Mr. Lelouch's subsequent career, that he did make more than one movie. His brand of melancholy, stylish romanticism, at once jaded and swooning, does not vary much from picture to picture, and his world-weary, glamorous love stories have a tendency to run together in the mind…The sublime silliness of ‘And Now Ladies and Gentleman’ is made all the more delightful by Mr. Lelouch's generous, undisciplined enthusiasm. He takes it all so seriously that we don't have to. The film goes on too long and adds up to very little, but the director's undisguised pleasure in filming the world of his grandiose, sentimental dreams is contagious." --A.O. Scott, The New York Times

"The most remarkable thing about Claude Lelouch's ‘And Now Ladies & Gentlemen’ is its inane self-confidence...I haven't seen a movie this ridiculous since Sally Potter's ‘The Man Who Cried’—but lacking the austere brilliance of Potter's mise-en-scène, 'Ladies & Gents’ has little to offer beyond muzzy kismet and generalized amnesia, a bit of National Geographic and a lot of cocktail jazz (not forgetting a snatch of the dwabadda-da-da-da-da-da theme from Lelouch's ‘A Man and a Woman’). A pleasant vacation for the cast, no doubt—but not the audience." --J. Hoberman, The Village Voice

"This is Lelouch trying to out-Lelouch himself, and so Jeremy Irons’ Valentin Valentin must be not only a competitive boat racer, but a master-of-disguise jewel thief as well, while Patricia Kaas’ Jane Lester — a globe-trotting jazz chanteuse (like Kaas herself) whose life might be perfect were it not for the mysterious blackouts from which she occasionally suffers — is glamorous enough to make Aimée’s script girl [in ‘A Man and a Woman’] seem positively provincial…it should come as no surprise that Valentin suffers from his own unexplained memory lapses, that his boat bears the same name as one of Jane’s songs and that it’s only a matter of time before our hero and heroine cross paths, in Fez, where an ancient healing spirit beckons. And, of course, they will fall madly in love…for those of us who find Lelouch an unbreakable habit — the guiltiest of guilty pleasures — watching ‘And Now Ladies & Gentlemen’ comes close to sheer moviegoing bliss. When it’s over, we’re left hoping for an encore." --Scott Foundas, LA Weekly

"Claude Lelouch has been tricking audiences into believing he has something to say about men and women since, well, ‘A Man and a Woman,' his Oscar-winning, 1966 dumb-down of French New Wave themes and techniques. But even those who find charm in Lelouch's superficial, scattered takes on life, love and fate will be hard put to sit through ‘And Now Ladies & Gentlemen,’ as unstructured, tone deaf and tedious a romantic epic as any ever filmed." --Bob Strauss, The Los Angeles Daily News

"It’s been a long, long time since there's been a big romantic movie from Lelouch on local screens, and this picture is the perfect summer tonic for mature audiences looking for sophisticated escape. It's filled with beautiful people in gorgeous, exotic locales — principally Morocco — and interspersed in a classic Michel Legrand score are a clutch of great love songs, vintage international standards, including ‘My Man,’ ‘I Wish You Love,’ ‘What Now My Love,’ ‘La Mer’ and ‘If You Go Away’… When Lelouch is in top form, as he is here, he is a master at spinning out suspense, laced with humor, as to whether the would-be lovers are going to make it to a final fade-out clinch; with a very light touch, he also can also evoke a sense of mortality, of the fickleness of fate and even of spiritual longing… With ‘And Now Ladies & Gentlemen,’ Claude Lelouch has managed to be fresh and original while being true to his own romantic tradition." --Kevin Thomas, The Los Angeles Times

"Claude Lelouch does something you'd probably find only in a French movie -- he makes a soulful romantic dirge about two miserable people with possible brain tumors…The tone moves from gently jocular (Irons appears in drag) to mystically morose (a female shaman tries to ululate up a cure), and that creates a jarring effect from which the movie does not recover." --Jami Bernard, The New York Daily News

"Writer-director Lelouch, who has famously trafficked in opulent romantic pulp such as ‘A Man and a Woman’ and ‘And Now My Love,’ is up to old tricks: a winding, obstacle-laden odyssey that brings together two strangers who are fated to be mated…The lovebirds' doom-laden scenario would crumple under the weight of absurdity if you stopped to consider it for more than a second…Ultimately, it's all really a pretext to showcase the smoky vocalizing of Kaas, as she cushions the film in a gauzy, almost anesthetizing haze of hi-fi ballads such as ‘I Wish You Love’ and ‘What Now My Love?’ Lelouch obviously adores his leading lady, who brings a sad-eyed balladeer's emotiveness to her acting. She's a compelling, off-center presence." --Jan Stuart, Newsday

"… one part cabaret, one part travelogue, one part comic heist, one part romantic tearjerker — and all pretty tedious…It takes forever before we learn that both Valentin and Jane are suffering from the same potentially fatal neurological condition…This attempt to cross Hitchcock's ‘To Catch a Thief’ with the old Hollywood weepie ‘One-Way Passage’ wouldn't work even if Lelouch didn't keep dragging things out with lengthy musical numbers and subplots….Irons isn't bad, but as this overlong whimsy lurches past the two-hour mark, you may be finding the introductory caption — ‘Life is a deep sleep’ — all too prophetic." --Lou Lumenick, The New York Post

"Claude Lelouch yarn mixes thriller, romance, musical, comedy, existential drama, and medical tearjerker into a fun story that will infuriate anyone who takes it too seriously." --Bilge Ebiri, New York Magazine