Monday, 10 March 2008
Bienvenue chez les Ch'tis
I succumbed to the fervor. I had to find out first hand what kind of film this was that appealed to everyone between the ages of 7 and 70. It had a fraction of the budget of Asterix et les Jeux Olympiques, while it was quadrupling it in the number of spectators. It was being compared to a Louis Funès film, La Grande Vadrouille, which I'm told is a not-to-be-missed classic, which is itself compared with Jerry Lewis films.
Indeed, the film was quite silly, taking a lot of its humor from a poke at the North of France, where the main character has been transfered, to his horror. In this Northern town of Bergues, the residents have a strange speech pattern, to which the main character, Philippe, mistakes as a speech impediment. It is difficult for me to catch 100% of the dialogue in a French film, but with the added /ch/ sound where normally an /s/ sound should come out, I was about at 65-70% comprehension. For example, "C'était le sien" would come out of a Berguesian mouth as "chétait le chien", which of course creates comical mishaps. Thankfully, in this sort of slapstick film, all the dialogue need not be understood. However, the cast did a fine job of speaking in this unusual fashion.
Overall, it was an amusing film, both in the story line, as well as the poke at French regional stereotypes. Additionally, it is a fun film to see at the cinema because the audience was loud with laughter, some even launching forward out of their seats with a sudden burst of giggles. In all, chétait un achez bon film.