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Re: Recently Watched Films 2022

Posted: Tue Jul 19, 2022 12:30 am
by Dan Warburton

Jean-François Stévenin, Mischka, 2000

The late great Stévenin only directed three features himself, of which this is the last, and though it seems critics are less enamoured with it than its two predecessors, Passe montagne and Double Messieurs, I thought it was smashing, myself. It was Bertrand Blier (whose Valseuses seems to be casting a long shadow over French cinema these days, as recent reviews here testify) who had the idea of an old man abandoned at a motorway service station by his family en route to their annual seaside holiday, but he handed the project over to Stévenin, who, in addition to casting the splendid Jean-Paul Roussillon as old Mischka, cast himself as the endearing if unstable ex-alcoholic hospital orderly Gégène who takes the old man out of a hospice on a wild trip across France where he's finally reunited with his family. It's a family affair: Stévenin's two children Salomé and Pierre are also running away from an absent mother in search of their missing father - indeed the theme of escape, loss and search is central to the movie - on the way they encounter various colourful characters, from Gégène's former war-obsessed AA chum Muller (Jean-Pierre Bonnaire, no relation to Sandrine) to a nomadic part-gypsy part-Earth Mother former danseuse, Joli Coeur (Rona Hartner), and a very real and very famous pop star who has a magnificent cameo (mentioning no names, and don't cheat by looking on IMDb!!). Alas, for the time being, no English subs that I know of, which will make it tough for non-French speakers. Even we had difficulty following some of the overlapping high-speed dialogue: Stévénin likes Breathless-like jumpcuts as much in his dialogue and storyline as in the editing. But that didn't stop us from thoroughly enjoying it.