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A tale revolving around the carefree and bon-vivant, Felix, who is content living with his boyfriend, Daniel in the town of Dieppe in Northern France. When Felix is laid off from his job, he decides to take a road trip to Marseilles to track down the father he's never met. Backpack in tow, Felix sets out walking, hitching and borrowing cars to get to the south of France. Springtime is budding, nature is at its best, and some unique characters await Felix along the dirtroads and byways of the French countryside. Written by
Sujit R. Varma
Although "Drole de Felix" does not seem on the surface to be a problem film, it is, on reflection, a rather difficult one to bring off. The directors have attempted a road movie with a feel-good factor about a young gay French Arab who is taking HIV-positive medication. Seldom has a film been so dependent on the performance of its central character. That the film succeeds at all is entirely due to Sami Bouajila's utterly likeable Felix. As he sets out on his quest from Dieppe where he has just lost his job to find a father in Marseilles whom he has never met, there is not a hint of anguish or self-pity. Here is a chap who almost dances his way along the roads of France between lifts. When, before setting out, he compares medication with a couple of youngsters at an AIDS clinic, the tone is almost lighthearted. Only at one point does his cheerful veneer crack as he tearfully confesses to one of his encounters that he did not tell the police of a brutal attack that he witnessed for fear of possible racial harassment. If the scene does not quite ring true it is due to an uncomfortable shift of mood rather than something that is dramatically not credible. Otherwise the film is all of a piece, particularly in its depiction of gay love. The relationship of Felix with his partner, a schoolteacher in Dieppe who later joins him in Marseilles, is one of real tenderness and affection. So much so that Felix's one promiscuous encounter with a young man who give him a lift is a joyous frolic, the two revelling in each other's nakedness in an otherwise deserted country landscape, a one-off fling that can do no harm to the other permanent relationship. By the end it is all perhaps a little too glib, but the excellent company of Felix in what at times amounts to little more than a French travelogue is worth an hour and a half's suspension of disbelief.
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