Fri 5 Oct 2012
I am yet to see The Artist, the film that conquered the Academy preferences and received the Oscar for the Best Film, as well as the Best Actor award for Jean Dujardin. I had recorded however about one year ago one of the previous films made by director Michel Hazanavicius with Dujardin in the principal role as well. Now I included it in the holidays season viewing package, and it was one of the most pleasant and holiday-suited choice that I made.
Lost in Rio (the English title) or Rio ne répond plus happens in the 1960s, when most of the novels of Jean Bruce were written. Bruce’s hero Hubert Bonisseur de la Bath was a replica of James Bond, one of the many created in the decades after the apparition of the novels of Jan Fleming, but he had a French touch and Gallic humor, which is the focus of the interpretation of director Hazanavicius. At no moment does he try to be politically correct, actually under the cover of making a film about the 60s he allows to himself to mock and exaggerate stereotypes of French, German and Israelis, Nazis and Nazi hunters, macho men and babe-shaped women. The result is pretty funny.
Do not invest too much into probing the credibility of the story, sit, relax and prepare for a few good laughs. If you follow this path there are good chances to enjoy this film. Jean Dujardin is certainly a great actor, and watching his work is a delight. An eyebrow, a faint smile or an hysterical laugh can sustain a full gag. He is in good company. I remember some of the French comedies of the 60s and they were really good, not only because they were blessing by actors such as Louis de Funes, Fernandel and Bourvil, but also because they allowed themselves to be crazy and ignore the social conventions. Everything was fair game for laughing. Films like this one, even if they do not hit gold as The Artist contain the promise of starting to build another significant lot of comedies in the French cinema.