May 21 2012

‘Les Fameux Gars’ by DANI Thinks Film

Published by at 01:00 under Independent Spirit Productions

SOURCE: http://danithinksfilm.blogspot.com/

Chicken in the classroom, a stolen hot-air balloon, a makeshift Stephen Hawkins, wieners in a gun belt and some VIP’s, very important português: you better hold on tight, because here comes the cinematic ride of the year.

Adolf El Assal’s Les Fameux Gars follows the adventure of three friends who embark on a school-trip to Portugal. When their friend Guy Désirée is barred from the school-trip on account of never having handed in one single paper, Stephen and his friends attempt to stage a sort of protest, which includes Stephen going on Léa Linster’s cooking-show to make crèpes, in order to get permission for Guy Désirée to come along. Naturally, all fails and their friend must stay at home. Guy Désirée, on the other hand, has an enormous crush on their young teacher Miss Meyer (played by the fabulous Caty Baccega) and hires a shady private investigator to keep an eye on her, all the while planning on driving to Portugal himself.

In Portugal, and it must be said that this country seems to resemble Luxembourg in an almost uncanny way, things go from weird to absolutely absurd, as Stephen seems to carry 26 million Euros in his luggage, a teacher is shot with a rubber arrow, a building explodes in the most random fashion, a cat-and-mouse game with the police ensues and the friends steal a hot-air balloon only to plunge into a dream-like voyage which contains a less than subtle nod towards Méliès.

The plot contains more holes than a Swiss cheese. Clearly devised in a pub after several points, the sequential build-up is of the most random nature and you can just imagine the writers having fun and shouting: ‘Yeah, and you know what? Then they should steal a balloon and go on a Portuguese game-show…in a chicken suit!’ Here’s the thing about Les Famuex Gars, though: It shouldn’t work, yet, it inexplicably does!

What firmly holds this tapestry of absurdities together is the joyful hilarity of its genuinely funny moments. The tongue-in-cheek attitude towards its plot, its characters, the notion of national identity and last, but not least the self-reflexive awareness of film-making itself, infuse the film with a rare kind of raw energy, the likes of which Luxembourg cinema has not yet seen. The voice-over has the characters comment on their own actions on screen and take the piss out of each other. The film never pretends to be anything else than what it is, an accumulation of hilarious moments which, even if they make no sense whatsoever in an overall plot-related definition, nevertheless illustrate some truthful notions of what it means to live and be ‘educated’ in Luxembourg, Delvaux beware!

Some of the funniest instances present the characters imitating the pigeon French of the Luxembourger, the Portuguese and the African, all bound together in this language which none can claim as their own, thus symbolising the very life and cultural differences in the multiculturalism of Luxembourg life which a lot of its natives might choose to ignore. Even if the film does not preach tolerance and in fact stays away from all political statement, one might hope that the sheer absurd hilarity of it all might bring people from different cultural backgrounds closer, if only bound together in the hilarity of the frères Speck and ‘2 boule Mocca’.

Apart from presenting a crazed comedy of the nonsensical, Les Gars Fameuxsimultaneously works on a different level. Through its ironic and reflexive nods towards cinematic conventions, the film is out to show the middle-finger to the general stiffness of the filmic canon in Luxembourg and Europe in general. Through the introduction of cameos, such as Andy Bausch trying to steal El Assal’s comedians and the aforementioned cinematic nod to Méliès, it almost seems as if this young film-maker allows us to see that he knows what he is doing, as if to show that he is aware of cinematic conventions and deliberately chooses to ignore them. This ironic filmic self-reflexivity culminates in the last scene, it might not quite be Truffaud’s glance of the main protagonist towards the camera and by definition the audience, but it certainly brings awareness to the artificiality of story-telling and the comments of the characters about the film itself bring refusal to integrate the audience in a diegetic film-universe in which the illusion of the story must be maintained by all means.

After the screening, one can imagine more than one spectator being a bit at a loss as to what to make of the film. Les Fameux Gars should and, indeed, must not be judged by conventional critical tools as, in the end, it is a hilariously absurd tour de force in which humour stands above all meaning and in this regard the film succeeds without a doubt!

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SOURCE: http://danithinksfilm.blogspot.com/

Chicken in the classroom, a stolen hot-air balloon, a makeshift Stephen Hawkins, wieners in a gun belt and some VIP’s, very important português: you better hold on tight, because here comes the cinematic ride of the year.

Adolf El Assal’s Les Fameux Gars follows the adventure of three friends who embark on a school-trip to Portugal. When their friend Guy Désirée is barred from the school-trip on account of never having handed in one single paper, Stephen and his friends attempt to stage a sort of protest, which includes Stephen going on Léa Linster’s cooking-show to make crèpes, in order to get permission for Guy Désirée to come along. Naturally, all fails and their friend must stay at home. Guy Désirée, on the other hand, has an enormous crush on their young teacher Miss Meyer (played by the fabulous Caty Baccega) and hires a shady private investigator to keep an eye on her, all the while planning on driving to Portugal himself.

In Portugal, and it must be said that this country seems to resemble Luxembourg in an almost uncanny way, things go from weird to absolutely absurd, as Stephen seems to carry 26 million Euros in his luggage, a teacher is shot with a rubber arrow, a building explodes in the most random fashion, a cat-and-mouse game with the police ensues and the friends steal a hot-air balloon only to plunge into a dream-like voyage which contains a less than subtle nod towards Méliès.

The plot contains more holes than a Swiss cheese. Clearly devised in a pub after several points, the sequential build-up is of the most random nature and you can just imagine the writers having fun and shouting: ‘Yeah, and you know what? Then they should steal a balloon and go on a Portuguese game-show…in a chicken suit!’ Here’s the thing about Les Famuex Gars, though: It shouldn’t work, yet, it inexplicably does!

What firmly holds this tapestry of absurdities together is the joyful hilarity of its genuinely funny moments. The tongue-in-cheek attitude towards its plot, its characters, the notion of national identity and last, but not least the self-reflexive awareness of film-making itself, infuse the film with a rare kind of raw energy, the likes of which Luxembourg cinema has not yet seen. The voice-over has the characters comment on their own actions on screen and take the piss out of each other. The film never pretends to be anything else than what it is, an accumulation of hilarious moments which, even if they make no sense whatsoever in an overall plot-related definition, nevertheless illustrate some truthful notions of what it means to live and be ‘educated’ in Luxembourg, Delvaux beware!

Some of the funniest instances present the characters imitating the pigeon French of the Luxembourger, the Portuguese and the African, all bound together in this language which none can claim as their own, thus symbolising the very life and cultural differences in the multiculturalism of Luxembourg life which a lot of its natives might choose to ignore. Even if the film does not preach tolerance and in fact stays away from all political statement, one might hope that the sheer absurd hilarity of it all might bring people from different cultural backgrounds closer, if only bound together in the hilarity of the frères Speck and ‘2 boule Mocca’.

Apart from presenting a crazed comedy of the nonsensical, Les Gars Fameuxsimultaneously works on a different level. Through its ironic and reflexive nods towards cinematic conventions, the film is out to show the middle-finger to the general stiffness of the filmic canon in Luxembourg and Europe in general. Through the introduction of cameos, such as Andy Bausch trying to steal El Assal’s comedians and the aforementioned cinematic nod to Méliès, it almost seems as if this young film-maker allows us to see that he knows what he is doing, as if to show that he is aware of cinematic conventions and deliberately chooses to ignore them. This ironic filmic self-reflexivity culminates in the last scene, it might not quite be Truffaud’s glance of the main protagonist towards the camera and by definition the audience, but it certainly brings awareness to the artificiality of story-telling and the comments of the characters about the film itself bring refusal to integrate the audience in a diegetic film-universe in which the illusion of the story must be maintained by all means.

After the screening, one can imagine more than one spectator being a bit at a loss as to what to make of the film. Les Fameux Gars should and, indeed, must not be judged by conventional critical tools as, in the end, it is a hilariously absurd tour de force in which humour stands above all meaning and in this regard the film succeeds without a doubt!

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