|Index||7 reviews in total|
A very funny comedy about the owner of a family business (Vincent Lindon) who has to use less-than-standard methods to save his company after a string of disasters. It has a perfect, well-balanced cast from the main leads to the supporting roles (an incredible François Berléand as a crooked, cowardly insurance broker), and a clever plot with many unexpected twists and turns, until the very end. What I preferred was the way it was set not in the usual unrealistic world of comedy but in true life, with credible characters and dialogues, and still be hilarious. It could also work as a very nice introduction to contemporary France to foreign viewers, quite different from the usual fare of French sex dramas or stiff period movies and more like some of the recent English "social comedies" (The Full Monty, My Name is Joe, or The Snapper, for instance).
Pierre Jolivet is one of the most original filmmaker in French
cinema nowadays, and this one is not (just) one of his best, but
a stronghold in a carrier that defies categorization. His movies
are so typically French, insofar they are snapshots of French
society nowadays, that they'll surely never be eaten up buy
Hollywood. The characters are so vivid and believable that this
movie feels more like a slice of life than a movie without
falling into the "modern realism" or "social" cinema trappings.
Besides, cinematography and acting are both wonderful, as iin
Jolivet's own noir film "Fred" ; Vincent Lindon is a marvellous
actor. If you consider that each country has a right for its own
specificity without falling into nationalistic trappings, please
states that this movie is what late nineties France looks like ;
and if not, just for a great, superiously acted and very funny
movie. This one was Jolivet's biggest success in France since
the great "Force Majeure", and it really deserved it - as the
other one which didn't get it. Jolivet is a master that can only
be compared to Spain's Julios Medam and England's Danny Boyle.
Like its predecessor "Fred" (1997), "ma Petite Entreprise" is in the
same league: the world of workers in popular neighborhoods and the
tricks the characters elaborate to get out of their distress. Pierre
Jolivet finds again the same actor and one of his favorites Vincent
Lindon for a role quite familiar to the one he held in the 1997 movie.
Like "Fred", Ivan has to manage himself to get out of a thorny
situation. The main difference lies in the fact that in "Fred", he was
practically all alone but here, he receives a little help from his
friends. Lindon acts the work alcoholic boss of a joinery and lives on
a wild pace which made him estranged from his wife. But one day his
world collapses for the workshop is burnt down. To avoid the definitive
closure, he'll have to break the law.
When the film reached the streets, the catchphrase was: "in life, trouble make people closer". It was a well-appropriated one to grab the interest and to disregard any Cartesian logic in the relationships between the characters who one by one rally to Ivan. However, some of them were about to take advantage of the knotty stance Ivan was in. At first Sami (Roschdy Zem), the one who lives with Ivan's former wife, then Maxime (François Berléand) and at last Charles (Albert Dray). Jolivet found a supple dosage between the gritty depiction of the popular neighborhood, the dramatic situation which can worsen if Ivan can't quickly solve it and the droll solutions adopted with a dash of suspense (the break-in in the insurance center) and some unexpected turns in the story. The formula paid off well for "ma Petite Entreprise" drew many more viewers in the theaters than "Fred".
Jolivet's work garnered several nominations at the César ceremony in 2000, notably in the Secondary Roles category and François Berléand was justifiably the winner. Here, Jolivet has no cause to be jealous of his English filmmakers peers in the domain of social cinema.
I am English but am living temporarily in Paris. I've just sat down to watch the DVD (original version with English subtitles). Although the film is a bit slow it does hold your attention long enough to enjoy it. It's a frustrating escapade sprinkled lightly with a few hilarious moments. I couldn't stop laughing when Maxime said he was disappointed in Lucie because she agreed to help with the fraud. It was worth watching for that scene alone.
Slow at first then the plot livens up. The cast is excellent. Very funny. Beautifully directed. No apparent special effects to distract you from the plot. The underlying message is clear and plausible. It even makes you wonder... I enjoyed every character, all location sets and the music from Alain Bashung.
As a French myself, I could be believed to have a tendency to over-rate
french movies... well, as a matter of fact, I don't like french movies,
they're too sad, too dark, too slow and really too boring... :-) Viva US
movies, those are entertaining, first role of the cinema, right
Well, you can trust my impartiality here, this movie is GOOD.
Finally, being French is not that bad anymore... :-)
This movie is funny, never slows down, but also has a message, not a boring one though...The actors are wonderful, especially the one playing Maxime (to me that is), and all have *the* role "tailored" for them...
One reproach : it's a little bitty long to begin, but it's too short... not that bad a reproach :-)
I've seen it twice, and it's even better the second time...
So, when it's released where you live (the english version should be called "My little business", how surprising :-) ), go see it, give it a try, you won't be disappointed !!!
Well, I've just seen this film and I was a bit disappointed. As usual, Vincent Lindon acts very well and seems to match exactly his character in the film. But this is not enough to reedeem the lacks that "ma petite entreprise" is suffering. Indeed, the director didn't take advantage of the possibilities the scenario had to offer. He could have made an entertaining comedy and he instead gave us a boring film where all is filmed very calmly, too calmly....
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