Monday, June 22, 2015

The Rendez-Vous of Déja-Vu (orig. La Fille du 14 Juillet) [2014]

MPAA (UR would be R)  Fr. Dennis (3 Stars)

IMDb listing
Allociné.fr listing* (S. Leblanc) review* (I. Navarro Mejía) review* (Jérôme) review* (N. Bardot) review* (F. Nouchi) review* (B. Icher) review* viewer reviews*

The Rendez-Vous of Déja-Vu (orig. La Fille du 14 Juillet) [2014] [IMDb] []* (directed and screenplay by Antonin Peretjatko [IMDb] []* with assistance by Emmanuel Lautréamont [IMDb] []*, Patrick Chaize [IMDb] []* and Luc Catania [IMDb] []*) is a goofy (French) young adult oriented comedy that played recently as part of an eight film Young French Cinema program held the Gene Siskel Film Center here in Chicago and in partnership with UniFrance Films and the Cultural Services of the French Embassy to the United States. 

I write that this is a "(French) young adult oriented comedy" because though the film is -- if one is open to its quite off-the-wall, dry / drôle (TM) humor -- LOL funny, I suspect that a lot of American viewers watching the film would find themselves, mouth-half-open / exasperated / somewhat lost, knowing that they probably should be laughing but admitting (again half-out-loud) "I ... just don't get it."   

"Bie sûr, mais vive la différence" ;-)

The film is about young people in France trying to find their way through an economy that ... like all across the Western world ... doesn't really have serious jobs for them.   A recent Italian comedy based in the same reality I Can Quit Whenever I Want (orig. Smetto Quando Voglio) [2014] played at Chicago's Italian Film Festival last year.

So how are the young people in the current film coping? 

Well, there's Hector (played by Grégoire Tachnakian [IMDb] []*) who's landed himself a job as a security guard at the Louvre in Paris.  He spends his off hours hanging-around besides cars that he can't afford, hitting-on (and surprisingly ... the film's universe anyway ...)  picking-up girls ;-). 

There's soon-to-be college-grad "Truquette" (played by Vimala Pons [IMDb] []*) who's introduced to us selling "Revolutionary nicknacks ("truquette" means essentially "nicknack") to bystanders during the annual Bastille Day (July 14 / il "14 de Juillet" from which the French title of the film derives) parade:  Come get your "piece of the Revolution" she happily cries out, walking along-side a HUGE row of French armored personnel carriers that apparently were (going to be) part of the Bastille Day parade ... ;-) 

Among the nicknacks she's selling are polyurethane-foam cobble stones ;-).  "Oh don't worry, they're harmless," she tells a potential buyer, throwing one then at the back of the head of a police officer standing by; it bounces off his helmet without him even noticing ...

Somewhat depressed that she's made less than 50 Euros selling her plastic (no doubt "made in China") "revolutionary wares..." she's cheered-up by her BFF Charlotte (played by Marie-Lorna Vaconsin [IMDb] []*) at whose flat she's been crashing.  Charlotte, who also works at the Louvre, tells her that she's found "a cute guy" for her ... Hector.  Now is Hector particularly cute, or particularly "happening" / interesting, etc?  NO ;-).  He's just a random, if amiable, dude with a very simple job (though one supposes, at least he has one...).

And this is honestly _very interesting_ about this film.  In American romances / romcoms, the central protagonists are almost ALWAYS _spectacular_ in some way.  Perhaps the characters don't know (initially) that they are "spectacular."  Perhaps the actors / actresses are suitably "uglified" for a little while before their characters' "spectacularness" is revealed.  But they always come out _spectacular_ by the end ...  Here, certainly the guys, Hector, and then his bearded/early-onset-balding buddy Pator (played by Vincent Macaigne [IMDb] []*) are utterly UN-(!)-spectacular. 

And yet, there they find themselves, in a bar, after Pator loses his fake job -- he's been impersonating a medical doctor for 3 years -- discussing the possibility of "going on vacation" for the rest of July / August ('cause that's what people do in France ;-).  "It'd be quite boring going on vacation, the two of us ..." Hector notes.  "Well, what about the girl ("truquette") and her friend (Charlotte)?" asks Pator.  "I barely know them," replies Hector. 

So Hector asks two random young women in said the bar: "Would you two go with us 'on vacation' if we asked you?"  The random young Parisian women look at them, then at each other, then back at them, and answer "Yes."  So ... Hector and Pator LEAVE the two random young Parisian women that they JUST KINDA ASKED to go on vacation with them ;-) ... and go to Charlotte / "Truquette's" place to ask them ... and rest of the movie then ensues ...

I found the film light / fascinating and "perhaps" (obviously...) "still written from a male perspective."  Would two young Parisian women, one _with a job_, just pack-up and go with two amiable, but, let's face it "loser" young Parisian men "on vacation" FOR SIX WEEKS ... ;-)

It's all quite remarkable but this film was well liked / well reviewed "hit" in France ;-)

* Foreign language webpages are most easily translated using Google's Chrome Browser.  

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