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Buffet Froid

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Product Details

  • Actors: Gérard Depardieu, Bernard Blier, Jean Carmet, Denise Gence, Marco Perrin
  • Directors: Bertrand Blier
  • Format: Color, Full Screen, Subtitled, NTSC
  • Language: French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Fox Lorber
  • DVD Release Date: August 12, 1998
  • Run Time: 95 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 6305037221
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #264,950 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Buffet Froid" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Production notes

Editorial Reviews


Playing murder as farce is nothing new for French filmmakers, but Bertrand Blier brings the concept to a new level in Buffet Froid, a bleak, ironic black comedy. An unemployed man is enmeshed in a nightmarish situation that plays itself out with unapologetic illogic: he falls in with shady characters like his wife's killer, a corrupt police chief, and a young beauty who is definitely not what she seems. Like all Blier romps (most notably the scatological Going Places and Ménage), Buffet Froid is definitely not for everyone, and Gérard Depardieu fans might feel especially cheated by his passive performance. But if your own taste runs to the surrealistic dreamscapes of Luis Buñuel's final films, then Blier's cheerfully amoral tale is worth seeing. --Kevin Filipski

Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Wayne on August 31, 2000
Format: DVD
I watched the Buffet Froid DVD recently. It's a superbly surreal black comedy from Bertrand Blier. It won a Cesar award for the screenplay. Gerard Depardieu plays an unemployed guy named Alphonse Tram, who may or may not have killed a stranger in the subway. He lives with his wife in a strange and stylish, almost empty high-rise apartment block. That is until she is killed by a misogynist murderer who is afraid of the dark. He knocks on Alphonse's door and announces this to him after her death; Alphonse then immediately makes him a meal and chats amiably with him.
The other main character is an odd police chief inspector (played by the director's father). Alphonse tells him he could have knifed a man in the subway, and later introduces him to his wife's murderer. The inspector completely overlooks all this of course. The inspector tells the other two men it's better to keep the murderers on the streets, that way they don't contaminate the innocent in prison. Another scene has the three men comforting the wife of a man they have just killed (on his instructions). She is then extremely ill in bed, and the trio call for a doctor. He arrives, and then makes love to the stricken lady while the men watch. Afterwards he gives the diagnosis, "It's just a minor viral infection."
The misogynist murderer is later seen searching for a woman alone to kill. A man tells him there's a mature lady who lives next door to him. "How do you know she's mature?", "Because she makes Jam.", he offers. The police inspector later asks for around thirty officers to accompany him to a house to arrest a violinist, just because he is allergic to them. It is all very funny, surreal and refreshing. If you like the later films of Buñuel, you'll like Buffet Froid.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Robert Beveridge HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on December 7, 2008
Format: DVD
Buffet Froid (Bertrand Blier, 1979)

You have to have a particularly warped sense of humor to find Buffet Froid as funny as I do, but then I could probably say that about most of the movies that really tickle my funny bone. It's a black, black comedy about a hapless lad named Alphonse Tram (Gerard Depardieu); his neighbor, a police inspector (Bernard Blier, the director's father); and the man who killed Tram's wife (the late Jean Carmet). The three of them get tangled up in some very odd adventures over the course of this movie, and despite the fact that all three of them have every reason to hate one another, they end up finding themselves going from acquaintances of convenience to the oddest sort of friends. Often compared to the comedies of Luis Bunuel, but I think in some way it has a closer spirirtual connection to my other favorite Depardieu film, Roman Polanski's desperately underrated A Pure Formality; there's the same sense of disconnection from reality, the same sense of the film's comedy rising from something deeply sad under the surface. (Captain obvious reporting in: it just occurred to me that a much more famous parallel would be Terry Gilliam's Brazil.) Blier's comic timing and sense of the absurd are impeccable, and the three principals are perfectly cast. A fine, fine piece of work that needs to be rediscovered by the comedy-loving masses. ****
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Felixpath on April 10, 2004
Format: VHS Tape
"Buffet Froid" is a thriller without thrills, a murder mystery with no solution, and a comedy that's only funny to a certain type of person. When you add all these ingredients up, you get one heck of a surrealist piece. It is a movie many people will hate after just one viewing. It is bleak, morbid, ruthless, and bizarre in its apparent lack of concern for plot or realism. When I watched in my high-school French class, there wasn't much laughter, though there was a lot of "What??" and "Oh, my God..." I didn't hate it, though. I was quite intrigued.
The film opens in a metro station, where a young man named Alphonse (Gerard Depardieu) attempts to engage an unfriendly older man in conversation. Oddly, the man warms up when the topic of duscussion switches to death and murder. Alphonse produces a switchblade knife, and it's hard to tell if he's threatening or just emphasizing his words. The knife vanishes; the older man grows frightened and flees on a train; and very shortly afterward, Alphonse finds him lying in a passageway with the knife buried in his stomach. Is Alphonse the murderer? Not even he knows.
Alphonse goes home, where his wife doesn't react at all upon learning of the murder. They live in a cheerless apartment halfway up a large tenement complex that is completely uninhabited except for them and their new upstairs neighbor, a police chief. Alphonse's wife goes missing and turns up murdered in a vacant lot, and before we know it, a short, nervous man is knocking on Alphonse's door and introducing himself as the murderer. Alphonse invites him in for a drink, and they are soon joined by the police chief ("I'd like you to meet my wife's murderer." "Pleasure.").
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By anybody else or on December 16, 2001
Format: DVD
This is certainly one of the best black comedies I've seen, and probably the most surreal (and absurd). The movie creates another reality that sharply contrasts with the one we're used to seeing and yet seems piercingly real. The actors are simply superb, the atmosphere is carried out to perfection, and the plot is simply awesome.
This movie demonstrates what happens when two kinds of 'logic' (yours and the absurd one) crash.
This movie is definitely one of the best French movies of all time. At least that's what I'd say...
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