Kristin Scott-Thomas is telling BBC News that the success of the French-produced Arsene Lupin, which opened in Europe last fall but has apparently found no U.S. distributor, exemplifies a new approach to movies in France. “I think it’s very exciting,” Scott Thomas remarked, “because for a long time in France ‘commercial’ was a dirty word. Now it’s okay to make a lot of money with the films that you’re making.” It’s certainly okay for this 44 year-old French resident, because the producing of more and more empty fantabulous films in France means she gets to earn bigger paychecks. What she doesn’t acknowledge, of course, is that the movie is, to judge by reviews, on the fatuous side. As Boyd van Hoeij of European Films.net politely puts it, Arsene Lupin “is high on atmosphere and production values (the reported budget being 23 million Euros), though it treats the story only as a necessity to bring us from one skirmish to the other, from one lady’s bed to the other and from one flaming explosion to the next.” See what I mean? The cultural-aesthetic cancer that has all but taken over mainstream big-budget filmmaking in Hollywood has spread to France. Break out the Dom Perignon! “Arsene Lupin [can] be an old-fashioned adventure if you are willing to let it be just that,” van Hoeij continues. “The story and its internal logic are not its greatest feats, but indulge in this two-hour fantasy of this rakish burglar in an exquisitely imagined Paris and Normandy and you will come away entertained, amused and delighted.” Adhering to general principle, I am torn between shedding a tear and wanting to throw up.