Housewarming, 2005

Divorced single parent, successful attorney, sans-papiers advocate, and not-so-obscure object of desire Chantal Letellier (Carole Bouquet) has led a fairly manageable life of controlled chaos in her comfortable, if occasionally unhinged flat until one day when she seizes the opportunity of a vacated sublet upstairs maid’s room to open up their living space and convert the second floor into an office area. Hiring the services of a Colombian architect (Marcial Di Fonzo Bo) brimming with lofty design ideas and ambitious concepts but with little preoccupation towards more pragmatic issues of logistics and schedule, Chantal’s life is soon turned into upheaval when her apartment is thrown into a state of perpetual construction, demolition, and rework, and the apartment becomes a haven for a stream of immigrant workers with varying degrees of questionable job skills and even more dubious immigration work permits. Recalling the idiosyncratic humor of recent “fish out of water” comedies such as Les Petites Couleurs and Chouchou, the whimsical, pell-mell structure of Brigitte Roüan’s Housewarming appropriately mirrors the film’s motley cast of characters and infectious, freeverse narrative, melding together such oddball ingredients as courtroom dance sequences, social activism, hapless romantic comedy, and even Santería occultism to create an effervescent, good natured, refined, and patently goofy confection.