|Index||5 reviews in total|
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
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
he shows us what the typical québécois resembles when portrayed in the
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
side that, combined with his pro-american/business ideology, makes us
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
made him a pathetic figure: see the scene in the plane where he and his
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
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!
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
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
is unambiguously federalist - in fact, the film was director Pierre
Falardeau's reaction to the Quebec referendum of 1980. The film is meant
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.
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
"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
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
"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!
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.
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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