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Jean (Gad Elmaleh), a shy young bartender, is mistaken for a millionaire by a beautiful seductress named Irene (Audrey Tautou, Amélie). When Irene discovers his true identity, she abandons him, only to find that a love-struck Jean has no intention of letting her get away. Jean's comical attempts to gain her affections gradually evolve into setting himself up as a gigolo at a luxury hotel, until Irene finally starts to warm to her persistent, persuasive suitor. Against the wildly atmospheric backdrop of the south of France, Pierre Salvadori (Après Vous) directs this sexy and thoroughly charming romantic comedy, which is a fresh re-imagining of the cinema classic Breakfast at Tiffany's.

 

 

 Priceless by director Pierre Salvadori

What happens when you meet the right person at the wrong time?

The idea of this puzzle came to me as I was touring the United States for my film Après-Vous. I envisioned Irène as a beautiful woman who uses her power of seduction in order to find financial security. For the male lead, I saw Jean as a shy, bewildered people-pleaser who cannot believe his luck when such a gorgeous woman pays attention to him. The premise—a comical misunderstanding of their first encounter—was a good opportunity to explore some interesting world views in the context of a lighthearted romantic farce.

For Irène, love is not a solution—it’s a problem! It weakens her, frightens her, confuses her. I could only picture Audrey Tautou playing Irène. America knows Audrey from Amélie and similar, charming characters she has played; in Priceless, she is irresistibly compelling and seductive, but, also a tough and practical woman. 

There is a moment in the film when you can see on Audrey’s face that everything has changed for Irène—all of a sudden, everything she once thought would make her happy becomes meaningless.

For Jean, I knew Gad Elmaleh as a gifted comedian and actor from his work in theater. I wanted an actor who starts out as a man who could be almost invisible, neutral—and then progressively acquires an elegance and confidence about him. And, of course, I wanted someone who not only knows how to do physical comedy, but, who could also convince the audience that he is truly in love with Irène, despite her fixation on acquiring material things. He never judges her—instead, he becomes her ally.

I hope you will enjoy Priceless. I had a great deal of fun exploring this relationship in the midst of the world of luxury, high fashion, and privilege on the French Riviera. True love is never the solution to all our problems, but, in the end, it is the most endearing and truthful characteristic of what makes us human.