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  • Widescreen 1.85:1
  • 16:9 Enhanced
  • Dual Layer ( )
  • French: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
  • French: Dolby Digital Stereo
  • 4 Theatrical trailer
  • 3 Cast/crew biographies
  • Photo gallery - 17 stills
  • DVD Text - Soundtrack ad

My Wife is an Actress

20th Century Fox/20th Century Fox Home Entertainment . R4 . COLOR . 91 mins . M15+ . PAL


Written and performed by real life French actor couple Yves Attan and Charlotte Gainsbourg, this is a sweet film with some genuinely funny moments. Asking the question that we never seem to receive a decent answer to from the stars, "How does it feel when your husband/wife is kissing another person in a film?", this French couple deliver the answer.

Yves (they both play roles under their own first names) is a regular fella who works as a sports writer. After meeting and marrying Charlotte, a beautiful actress, she becomes a nation wide smash and suddenly their lives are surrounded by the huddled masses, interrupting them at dinner, at the movies, at the VD clinic for an autograph. (I made that bit up about the VD clinic).

"Sure, well everyone’s naked… "

This doesn’t bother Yves until one day he meets a belligerent old acquaintance who asks the question noted above and Yves laughs it off… at first. Soon he is curious about the situation and starts flitting back and forth to visit Charlotte on a set in England where she is embroiled in a steamy film with suave leading man John (Terence Stamp). Further confused, Yves joins a French acting class to understand her work and soon there are women interested in him. Now this tension between the two marrieds is asking the biggest question of all; "Can the marriage survive?"

It’s a warm film full of some hilarious moments, plus some genuine light-hearted jabs at the English and American film industries. The interesting point here lies in the fact that the two actors in the leading roles are actually married in reality and playing parts in which they are kissing and having sex scenes with other people. This liberality lends its freedom to the film so that in the tenser moments between the two the atmosphere is all the more constricted, adding a real depth to the storyline that is quite tangible.

Lovers of foreign cinema will no doubt enjoy this film for its witty take on the film industry, while anyone who’s after a slightly offbeat romance could do worse than check this one out.


Shot in 2001, Ma Femme Est Un Actrice actually looks pretty good. There are moments of film artefacts that probably shouldn’t appear in so recent a film, but you get that. Colours are rich and evenly balanced while blacks are natural. Shadow detail fluctuates between fine and dandy to murky and muddy though. Big parts of this film are in shadowy backlots or stage sets or even the night time streets of Paris and London, so this variance can get annoying.

Delivered in the cinema aspect ratio of 1.85:1 with 16:9 enhancement, the film still looks pretty good overall.


Dolby Digital 5.1 surround brings us the noise here and it does a fine job of doing so. There are some great café sounds in the restaurants, stage and café scenes, plus some nice rainfall sounds as well. The subwoofer doesn’t really get a chance to warm up, but it does do so whenever the tired old Clash song London Calling is dragged out for one more spin. Cheesus, hasn’t anyone ever written another song with ‘London’ in the title? Here’s one, Werewolves of London; use that! Please stop turning that Clash song into any more of a cliché than it already is!

Apart from that song (which I do like, by the way, I’m an old Clash fan from way back) the score by Brad Mehldau is well made to highlight the different aspects of both the French and English cultures. It suits the film very well overall and does contribute considerably to the movie with its jazzy/groovy stylings of the modern café culture.

Meanwhile, dialogue is mostly in French, of course. Sometimes the characters lapse into English and back again (both seem quite fluent) and the subtitles are quick to keep up. Also, kudos must go to the subtitlers who don’t treat us as stupid when characters are repeating the same sentence again and again. We just get enough subtitles and not enough for us to scream at the telly, ‘Yes, we know he just said love 15 times! You don’t need to print it that many!’


Just a snifter’s worth here, but interesting enough stuff.

The first is in the trailer which I had a lot of trouble reading on both my DVD players. It stopped and started and paused and so I’m not sure if this is an inherent flaw or just one on my copy, but I couldn’t watch it anyway.

Biographies of our three leads in Yves Attan, Charlotte Gainsbourg and Terence Stamp follow with brief filmographies included, while a stills gallery brings us 17 images from the film itself.

Then follows a one page advertisement for the groovy soundtrack followed by three Palace trailers for The Taste of Others, Va Savoir and Time Out which all come to us in un-enhanced 1.85:1.


I was thoroughly impressed with the quick wit and subtle angst in this film. The director Vyes Attan has done a remarkable job of directing both he and his wife in the very sort of roles the film itself makes a point of getting its panties in a bunch over. It’s a funny and sometimes courageous film that overall leaves us feeling perhaps a little warmer than when we began it and certainly the better for having watched it.

For lovers of foreign cinema, indeed, but also for anyone who enjoys something a little different and levels of humour that extend beyond the framed edge of the cinema screen.

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      And I quote...
    "Intoxicating French cinema delivering mostly lighthearted responses to some age-old movie star questions... "
    - Jules Faber
      Review Equipment
    • DVD Player:
          Teac DVD-990
    • TV:
          Sony 68cm
    • Speakers:
          Teac PLS-60 Home Theatre System
    • Centre Speaker:
          Teac PLS-60 Home Theatre System
    • Surrounds:
          Teac PLS-60 Home Theatre System
    • Subwoofer:
    • Audio Cables:
          Standard RCA
    • Video Cables:
          Standard Component RCA
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