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aka - Evénement le plus important depuis que l'homme a marché sur la lune, L'
France/Italy 1973
Directed by
Jacques Demy
93 minutes
Rated PG

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
3.5 stars

Slightly Pregnant Man, A

Despite its absurd premise A Slightly Pregnant Man, a comedy for its time which is addressed to the then-nascent women’s liberation movement, is not only impressively well-made but surprisingly amusing.

Marcello Mastroianni plays Marco Mazetti, an Italian driving instructor living in Paris with his hairdresser girlfriend, Irène de Fontenoy (Catherine Deneuve), and their young son. Feeling unwell, one day Marco visits the doctor and after some tests is told by a renowned gynaecologist that he is pregnant, something which is, as the film’s French title baldly puts it is “the most important event since man walked on the moon”.  

This material could have been pretty dire stuff in the wrong hands (Hollywood had a crack at it with Arnold Schwarzenegger in Junior, a movie I never had the excess of time to tackle) but writer-director Jacques Demy was well-experienced with the frivolous having hit the big time with the classic all-singing, all-dancing musicals The Umbrellas of Cherbourg 1964) and The Young Girls of Rochefort (1967). This film however works because the story is played dead straight as Marco is subjected to the douleurs of a pregnant woman’s lot while along the way Demy takes droll pot-shots at the medical profession and the baby industry as Marco becomes a medical and media sensation. Only the wonderful early ‘70s kitsch production design and art direction signals the gleeful tongue-in-cheek spirit that informs the otherwise apparently matter-of-fact rendition.

In the leads Mastroianni's Marco displays stoic acceptance of his condition whilst Deneuve, who looks gorgeous in a series of fabulously outrageous get-ups is both sympathetic (after an initial tantrum) and petit-bourgeois calculating as her husband’s "revolutionary" situation becomes a badly-needed money-maker for them. Where the film does fall down is in explaining or rather failing to explain how Marco is going to deliver the baby with Demy brushing the whole issue aside and instead falling back on an anti-climactic ending.

A Slightly Pregnant Man will not please everyone but particularly for retro-fashion hounds it will be a bit of fun.

FYI:  Mastroianni and Deneuve were an item at the time and had a daughter, the future actress Chiara Mastroianni, who was born shortly before the film's release.




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