8:00 PM, 6th August, 2010
It seems every few years Jean-Pierre Jeunet surprises us with one of those delightful French flicks that make us smile, despite the sometimes off-colour humour and tone in his stories. Don’t recognise the name? He made Amélie and A Very Long Engagement. Before that, it was Alien: Resurrection, before that, The City of Lost Children. Micmacs, unlike some of his earlier movies, is more in line with Amélie.
After taking a non-fatal bullet to the head, Bazil (Boon) is befriended by a group of scavengers and misfits, living in a junk heap, and enlists their help in a plot that’ll take down two competing arms companies that contributed to both the death of his father when he was a child and the bullet in his brain.
The movie complements Jeunet’s wonderfully dark and satirical French humour, and gives a rather exciting and entertaining viewing experience. People familiar with Jeunet’s work will notice some familiar faces throughout the film, and those unfamiliar with his work will find themselves pleasantly surprised by the charm of the movie. The movie is riddled with those little idiosyncratic moments that take you off guard, but you immediately relate to them as you realise we all share such moments in day-to-day life. If you can suspend disbelief and take the movie with a grain of salt, Micmacs will be one of those movies you walk away from with one of those annoying smiles that just won’t go away.
10:00 PM, 6th August, 2010
Andrei Filipov (Guskov) is a former conductor of the Bolshoi Orchestra. Stripped of his position in 1980 for refusing to fire his Jewish musicians, he is now working as a janitor at the Bolshoi.
When Andrei intercepts a fax inviting the Bolshoi Orchestra to perform in Paris, he comes up with an impossible scheme that involves bringing back his former musicians and having them pretend to be the famed Bolshoi Orchestra in order to play (very specifically) Tchaikovsky’s “Concerto for Violin and Orchestra”. Andrei’s only demand is that the celebrated French violinist, Anne-Marie Jacquet (Laurent), accompany them.
So begins a wild ride of locating the musicians, convincing them to go to Paris (not so hard to do) and arranging visas. Andrei also enlists Ivan Gavrilov (Valeri Barinov) as the tour manager. Interestingly, Ivan is the man responsible for publicly humiliating Andrei in 1980. A further complication is that the real manager of the real Bolshoi Orchestra happens to be in Paris on holidays at this time and sees a sign promoting the Bolshoi Orchestra concert that night.
Throughout the film Andrei speaks of his quest to achieve ‘ultimate harmony’ and the final sequence in The Concert does exactly that. It wraps up every aspect of the film in a way that is completely satisfying – you will laugh; you will cry; you will feel uplifted and for that reason alone you should mark this film down as a must see.