A 60 year-old bar hostess finds it hard to give up her lifestyle when the promise of a new life beckons. Screened in the Un Certain Regard section of the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. Eligible for the Camera d'Or.

The real-life hangover

The Un Certain Regard section of the Cannes Film Festival opened today, with French/German film Party Girl, a first time feature film about a perenially soused flirt who harbors a pathological fear of settling down.

Angelique Litzenburger plays the good time girl of the title, a 60-something chain smoker who jobs as a hostess at a cabaret lounge at the German border.  Her role seems vaguely defined but it appears to hinge on her ability to convince male patrons to stump for a bottle of expensive champagne, take a booth and make friendly small talk, whilst looking at pole dancers bump and grind to a lime green laser light show. 

Angelique loves her job, partly because of the camaraderie she shares with the tight-knit group of dancers, but mostly because she gets paid to drink and dance.

This particular woman under the influence is what you might euphemistically call a ‘faded beauty’ (her grandkids laugh at the vintage soft-core portraits of her that hang on the wall). She sports an oversprayed updo that’s a few years past being fashionable, wears leopard print leggings made from non-breathable fibre and runs laps around her lids with black eyeliner.

She’s a battler, and her years of off-books casual jobs have left her no viable pathway to social security. So when a smitten customer pops the cork then pops the question, Angelique spies a second chance at life. If only she’s willing to heed the call for last drinks.

For most of its running time, Party Girl is a slice of life redemption story, until the ending brings some drama which, though plausible, seems tacked on and unnecessary.

Party Girl for the most part, is a kind portrait of an atypical woman. There’s an easy intimacy between Angelique and her kids, which makes sense given they're a family in real life, and that here they’re all playing versions of themselves:The film was inspired by Angelina’s own existential crisis and wedding a few years ago. One of her four children – son Sam – has a co-director credit.