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Populaire by Régis Roinsard

Populaire: Interview with Romain Duris, Déborah François and Régis Roinsard

By Adrienne Benassy

With a title that sounds like a self-fulfilling prophecy, Populaire (which literally means popular) is a promising debut for the newcomer director Régis Roinsard. Perfectly mastered, this fresh and colourful vintage romantic comedy, somewhere in between My Fair Lady and Mad Men, is an excellent feel-good movie, a delightful and ephemeral moment of pleasure.  


Everything starts in spring 1958. Rose Pamphyle, 21 years old, in the manner of Flaubert’s Madame Bovary, dreams of leading another life. She would like to leave her suffocating routine as she lives alone with her widower father in a small village in Normandy, and aspires to become a modern woman. And there she is, flying off to Lisieux, where Louis Echard, a charismatic insurer, is looking for a secretary. The interview is a daunting fiasco. But there is just one thing for which Rose is gifted, she can type extremely quickly. Rose gets the job under one condition: taking part in a dactylographic speed competition. Louis feels the need, the need for speed, and nothing will stop him now to make her the quickest woman in the country or even in the world. But love will interfere with their plans. 

Critics & Interview

It was a very colourful and innocent period. It was like a bubble for French people who wanted to forget World War II” explains the director Régis Roinsard, who is obsessed with the 1950s. Indeed, the film is full of bright colours and loads of pink, glamorous dresses and elegant costumes to the point that Romain Duris felt “it was like a dream”. When it comes to the diva, Déborah François, she could not stop thinking to herself “I had such beautiful costumes, I have never been that pretty. Then, I would turn around and think that the others were gorgeous too, the furniture, everything was amazing.

But Populaire is also all about adrenaline and a passion for success. And the suspense generated by the competition is exacerbated by the dazzling rhythm of the typing machine and the beat of the rockabilly music. It was worth pointing out that Deborah François trained for 6 months to get her typing up to speed. But what makes you hold your breath until the end  is definitively the burgeoning love affair between Louis and Rose. And who better than Romain Duris, Déborah François and Bérénice Béjo could deliver this sentimental imbroglio?

The actor of Heartbreaker, plays, once again, a cynical character who reveals his flaws and feelings throughout the movie and progressively earns himself the sympathy of the public. Beautiful in the role of Louis’s first love, Bérénice Bejo, certainly adds a lot to the film, but its main asset is Déborah François, who brings a disarming freshness to the movie. The actress confesses thta she has been influenced by her own life in the way she plays her role: “Rose comes from a small village, exactly like me. We both started very young and I’m trying to make myself a name in the world exactly like she did.”

Becoming popular is not only the film’s self-fulfilling prophecy; it also seems to be this very promising newcomer's main goal... 

Déborah François in Populaire
Déborah François in Populaire

Romain Duris and Déborah François

Romain Duris and Déborah François

Romain Duris and Déborah François in Populaire

Romain Duris and Déborah François in Populaire
Romain Duris in Populaire
Romain Duris in Populaire
Bérénice Bejo
Bérénice Bejo


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