Friday, February 19, 2021



Screenplay by Hannelore Cayre, Jean-Paul Salomé

Directed by Jean-Paul Salomé

Alliance Française French Film Festival

Palace Cinemas 4-31 March 2021


Previewed by Len Power 17 February 2021

In ‘The Godmother’ (original French title ‘La Daronne’), Isabelle Huppert plays a police translator, Patience Portefeux, who, desperate for money, gets involved in the other side of drug dealing with hilarious results.  The similarity to the TV series, ‘Breaking Bad’ is only the starting point.  The film goes off in its own original direction, maintaining a sense of real danger and suspense while amusing us with deftly drawn characters amongst the crooks, the police and others caught up in the plot.

Well-known French actress Isabelle Huppert shows what a fine comedian she can be.  She wins us over to her side immediately and we worry for the rest of the film if she’ll get caught, even though drug-trafficking is really no joke.

Supporting performances are excellent.  Liliane Rovér plays Huppert’s difficult mother, spending her last days in an expensive nursing home.  Hippolyte Girardot is Huppert’s lover and police chief chasing the drug traffickers and getting closer to the truth the whole time and Nadja Nguyen steals every scene as a practical and tough Chinese apartment building owner.

There are some superbly staged action sequences that are quite breath-taking and a Chinese wedding robbery that goes wrong is black comedy at its best.

Director, Jean-Paul Salomé’s film is a wicked romp that is great fun from start to finish.  Just enjoy it for what it is, an entertainment, and don’t think too much about the reality of the drug world behind it.


‘The Godmother’ is one of 37 films that will be shown at this year’s Alliance Française French Film Festival that will run from the 4th to 31st of March at the Palace Cinemas.  There are many interesting films on offer again this year, making it hard to choose what to see.  You’ll wish you had time to see them all!  The full program can be found at Alliance Française French Film Festival website.


Len Power’s reviews are also broadcast on the Artsound FM 92.7 ‘In the Foyer’ program on Mondays and Wednesdays at 3.30pm.


‘Theatre of Power’, a regular podcast on Canberra’s performing arts scene with Len Power, can be heard on Spotify, ITunes and other selected platforms or at