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Zou Zou

1934 1h 40m Comedy Drama List
Reviews 64% Audience Score 250+ Ratings As children, Zouzou (Joséphine Baker) and Jean (Jean Gabin) performed together in a circus. Onstage, they were falsely billed as brother and sister, but in truth Zouzou harbored a secret love for her costar. As an adult, she now works as a laundress, and it seems as if her showbiz days are over. But everything changes when Jean helps land her a spot dancing at a Paris theater. Zouzou rockets to stardom, even as Jean's romance with her friend Claire (Yvette Lebon) leaves her lovelorn. Read More Read Less

Critics Reviews

View All (3) Critics Reviews
Clayton Dillard Slant Magazine Several sequences highlight Baker’s talents as a singer, dancer, and clown—and she makes funny faces with the best of them. Mar 2, 2022 Full Review Dennis Schwartz Dennis Schwartz Movie Reviews This is one of the few films made by the great African-American entertainer Josephine Baker. Rated: B Jul 2, 2019 Full Review David Cornelius DVDTalk.com Baker's charisma carries the film, even if the script bungles too many opportunities along the way. Rated: 3/5 Jun 26, 2007 Full Review Read all reviews

Audience Reviews

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Audience Member Zouzou feels like a French version of a pre-code Hollywood film, though I don't believe French filmmakers ever had the equivalent of the Hays Code inflicted upon them. It has bawdy dialogue, scantily clad women, a silly plot, and an alluring star in Josephine Baker. Of course, the fact that Baker was an African-American and simply allowed to be a leading lady, without a lot made over her skin color, is something that was unthinkable in America at the time. There are a couple of other things you wouldn't see in an American film; the F bomb is dropped in one scene, and there are a couple of instances of near toplessness. The film is light in tone and rather playful, and what it also stars Jean Gabin, Baker is the reason to watch it. While she's a little overly emotive in her acting, her joy is infectious. In one scene, director Marc Allegret emphasizes her elongated form and curves with her giant shadow moving along with her as she dances. In another, she sings as if she were a canary in a giant birdcage, swinging back and forth in the smallest of feathery outfits. "He runs after all the girls, they are all at his mercy...his eyes undress me, his hands sometimes too," she trills. Unfortunately, the film as a whole is rather uneven. The musical numbers look amateurish, and the editing is consistently odd. Worth seeing for Baker and this little window in 1934 France though. Rated 3.5 out of 5 stars 01/13/23 Full Review Audience Member It's not a great film--the choreography is terrible and the downbeat ending feels displaced--but Josephine Baker possesses such a vibrant energy that it hardly matters. Jean Gabin is characteristically good, even in a fairly blase role. Rated 3 out of 5 stars 02/05/23 Full Review Audience Member Circus children raised as siblings grow up with the girl falling in love with her adoptive brother, and the brother becoming accused of murder. Josephine Baker movie that finally doesn't portray her as a primitive and focuses on her singing. Rated 4 out of 5 stars 02/10/23 Full Review Read all reviews
Zou Zou

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Cast & Crew

Movie Info

Synopsis As children, Zouzou (Joséphine Baker) and Jean (Jean Gabin) performed together in a circus. Onstage, they were falsely billed as brother and sister, but in truth Zouzou harbored a secret love for her costar. As an adult, she now works as a laundress, and it seems as if her showbiz days are over. But everything changes when Jean helps land her a spot dancing at a Paris theater. Zouzou rockets to stardom, even as Jean's romance with her friend Claire (Yvette Lebon) leaves her lovelorn.
Director
Marc Allégret
Producer
Arys Nissotti
Screenwriter
G. Abatino, Carlo Rim
Production Co
Productions Arys
Genre
Comedy, Drama
Original Language
French (Canada)
Runtime
1h 40m