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Elvis Gratton: Le king des kings
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13 out of 13 people found the following review useful:

Cult movie with great satirical humor

Author: schmorgluf from Montreal, Québec
21 May 2001

In Québec, it is now common to hear people use one-liners such as "Ils l'ont-tu l'affaire, les amaricains!" ("Aren't they the best, these americans!") That these pearls of wisdom made it into Quebec's popular culture gives one an idea of the impact that this low-budget movie has had. Technically very limited and consisting in a series of short sketches, "Elvis Gratton" is easy to dismiss as a bad taste, slapstick film. But for anyone familiar with Quebec's culture and political situation, this is a delightful, intelligent movie. Robert "Elvis" Gratton, the main character, represents everything that is ugly, stupid and vulgar in Québec; in that way he shows us what the typical québécois resembles when portrayed in the worst possible light. Apart from his ultra-kitsch and ugly side (the main source of comical moments in the movie), Gratton has an ignorant, racist and sexist side that, combined with his pro-american/business ideology, makes us think about what effects cultural imperialism has had in Quebec. The fact that Gratton can only define himself through his impersonation of Elvis Presley shows how shallow he is and to what extent his lack of sense of identity has made him a pathetic figure: see the scene in the plane where he and his wife Linda try to explain to a frenchman that they are québecois: "We are french-canadians from North America, No, frenchmen from Canada. No, québécois that speak french. No, rather..." It's the old québécois identity crisis summarized in one scene.

The director's obvious political leanings towards the Québec independence option will make more that one canadian viewer cringe his teeth (providing he can understand the strong québécois slang used in the movie), but you can be assured that here in Québec we rarely have the opportunity of seeing such an efficient attack on the federalist (canadian unity) side. Of course, it's by the way of a slapstick movie, but as a political tool it has proven more efficient than thousands of speeches. Propaganda can be used on both sides, and viewed in that light "Elvis Gratton" takes a wholly different dimension. It is interesting to see that the director Falardeau has recently taken a different approach to "spread his message", by the way of a historical piece on the 1837-1838 rebellions in Lower Canada. But for pure entertainment, "Elvis Gratton" rules. Go Teddy Bear!

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9 out of 11 people found the following review useful:


Author: Newcritic
29 September 2002

This low-budget Quebec cult classic is actually an amalgamation of 3 half-hour shorts made in 1981, '83 and '85. It's about the life of Bob (Elvis) Gratton, who's sort of the Babbitt of Brossard: a crass, far-right-wing small-business owner who lives in an unimaginably ugly house in an even uglier Montreal suburb and puts meaning into his life by impersonating Elvis on a local TV show (even though his command of English is tenuous at best). He's in love with all aspects of American culture and is unambiguously federalist - in fact, the film was director Pierre Falardeau's reaction to the Quebec referendum of 1980. The film is meant to give a very negative picture of francophone federalists, but also to show that there's a little bit of Elvis Gratton in everyone (that's the very subtle message of the final scene in the first short).

In many ways this is a very bad movie: subzero production values, embarrassingly puerile slapstick scenes which drag on far too long, etc. But that's all part of its charm, and it's not hard to see how it became a cult classic. Parts of it are very funny, the language is extremely colourful (although those not familiar with Quebec French may need to use subtitles) and it perfectly captures the essence of the kind of petty-bourgeois dullards who are prevalent not just on Montreal's South Shore, but throughout the world, and to a certain extent in all of us. Julien Poulin is wonderful in the title role, but Pierre Falardeau himself is not very good in his cameos, particularly as the American televangelist (his English isn't very good). Definitely recommended. And skip the sequel at all costs.

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7 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

The best of two worlds

Author: guillaume bilodeau ( from Varennes(Montreal), Québec
28 February 2000

Politically engaged in all his films (and books), Pierre Falardeau might be the biggest mouth of cinema in Quebec but at least he has something to say. (contrarily to I would say 90% of film makers) This movie is about a liberal federalist who worships Elvis. This caricatural archetype (Elvis Gratton)represents the mass of people who voted "NO" in the 1980 referendum for the separation of Quebec from the rest of Canada. The film is like a big satire of those people. They are ridiculized because of the directors' opinion. When you are informed about the political situation and history of Québec, you can understand the other level of lecture present in the movie. The comedy aspect of the movie is there to appeal to the kind of people who like "stupid" movies. But in fact, this is far from being a stupid one.

by the way, Julien Poulin is GREAT! and so is Denise Mercier in this wise and hilarious burlesque picture!

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7 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

Cult movie

Author: Carrot-4 from Quebec, Canada
23 December 1998

First, Elvis Gratton is a comedy, which means you should not to take it seriously. This is the story of a man who's idol is Elvis (baby!) and who enters a contest of Elvis imitations. He wins and the price is a trip to Santa-Banana, a tropical island. The fun thing about this film is that, through funny jokes, we follow the life of a stupid, racist and sexist individual who is happy that Quebec didn't separate from Canada in 1980. This has became a cult movie exactly because Quebec didn't separate. I guess you've got to have some French Canadian roots to understand this movie.

But for these French Canadians who are offended by this movie, who say strangers will think that we are all like that, let me tell you something. It's just like thinking that all Americans are like Jim Carrey in Dumb and Dumber.

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0 out of 15 people found the following review useful:

One of the worst movies I've seen

Author: anonymous from Lac-St-Charles, Canada
27 October 1998

Excuse me? This is supposed to be one of the best movies from Quebec ( along with _Louis_19:_le_roi_des_ondes_ and _Les_Boys_), and it makes _Showgirls_ (1995) look like a masterpiece. This film is disgusting, gross, kitsh ( in the worst way...), sexist, vulgar, and looks like it was shot by a first grader with a VHS-C handycam. The acting is OK, tough. Why our best movies can't even measure up with the best American or even French movies?

IMPORTANT NOTE: For you American/French/Japanese/etc. people, here in Quebec we aren't all as stupid and disgusting as the people portrayed in that horrible piece of garbage. Most of us are kind of just like you...

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