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|Index||25 reviews in total|
11 out of 11 people found the following review useful:
The French know how to make a good gay film!, 21 July 2001
Author: alexo-5 (firstname.lastname@example.org) from Seattle, WA - USA
The jazzy opening-credits number (a beautiful Blossom Dearie tune) we hear
as Felix glides across the screen on a bicycle perfectly sets the tone for
this wonderfully clever and creative gay-themed film from France.
In so many gay films, the acceptance of homosexuality is the central struggle in the film - or the horrors of the dating scene, the devestation of being HIV positive etc. etc. etc. I really enjoyed the way these issues were handled in this film. Felix is gay and HIV-positive - that is established from the beginning - and the rest of the film is spent getting to know this man as he gets to know the people on his path to visit his estranged father.
Issues of race, age, monogamy, relationships, family, marriage, sexuality, homosexuality and HIV are presented in such a natural way that they do not become "issues" as in most other gay films, but only various parts of Felix's experiences that make life interesting. The characters in the film are refreshingly realistic; some have tempers, some are sometimes rude and they don't always say or do the right thing.
Overall, this is a beautiful, breezy film that has freed itself from the constricting influence of "gay culture" - a film that helps you realize that life really has very few limitations.
10 out of 11 people found the following review useful:
The Adventures of Felix lives up to its title, 16 June 2001
Author: Bob Drake (email@example.com) from Bronx, NY
Felix, a happy-go-lucky gay man, loses his job as a ferry worker (because of
the Chunnel) in the north of France and decides to find his father, whom he
has never met, in the south by hitchhiking through the countryside, agreeing
to meet his lover, who will travel by train, at journey's end. Along the way
he meets an assortment of interesting, unusual characters (one segment being
called "My Younger Brother," another "My Grandmother") who reaffirm his
Felix himself is gay in both senses, despite dealing with a host of pills for HIV. His humor and sunny disposition light up a lighthearted film.
Not to be missed.
8 out of 8 people found the following review useful:
Tres charmant!, 15 August 2001
Although Felix is a quite delightful gay man, I would hate to see this wonderful film relegated to some "gay film" ghetto. Like most good films, the themes and characters are universal, and the interactions with various folks that he encounters in his five day journey from Normandy to Marseilles are completely entertaining. It is, in fact, very refreshing to see a gay character treated so matter-of-factly, but the film is well worth seeing for the story, to meet a collection of very interesting people, and to see the world through Felix's very open eyes. Although there is some violence and sexual activity that would make this film unsuitable for younger children, I'd recommend this for mature teenagers on up.
7 out of 7 people found the following review useful:
That rarity, a gay film without angst, 22 February 2002
Author: John Simpson (firstname.lastname@example.org) from Hastings, U.K.
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.
6 out of 6 people found the following review useful:
JOYFUL, JOYOUS, CELEBRATORY -- a piece of gold -- within the rainbow's reach, 12 November 2004
Author: philip-ct from Cape Town, South Africa
Journeys and the growth to self-awareness are countless: from a
solitary journey such as Pauline Collins in Shirley Valentine, to a
wonderful Marianne Sagebrecht making all the difference in Out of
Rosenheim (aka Bagdad Cafe), to an Oscar-nominated performance from
Fernanda Montenegro in Central Station.
And now this journey, by an affable, likable, vulnerable, gay, HIV +, Arab hero! WOW! The Adventures of Felix is a whirling tour de force -- like the symbol of the rainbow kite the pervades the movie. Very simply, Felix, incidentally HIV-positive, gay, of Arab origin, is a French man, who -- finding himself unemployed -- leaves his lover for five days as he undertakes a journey to find his (unknown) father.
On route he encounters a number of strangers who become, for the duration of the film, and for a limited time, part of his family: all of these meetings enrich him and give him insight into himself. These secondary characters add a depth and range to this film, fleshing it out.
This is a stunning film, thanks to a wonderful naturalistic and warm portrayal of Felix by Sami Bouajila in the title role, stunning supporting cast, a good soundtrack, and some lovely photography. And hats off to Patachou for a brilliant turn as the older woman; her scenes with Felix are well worth watching the movie for.
This is an amazing achievement: it is a realistic feel-good movie: the world and its problems do not disappear into the background. Neither is this a didactic "gay" movie with "look-at-me-I'm-making-an-important-statement" feeling -- maybe French film makers are too evolved for that (despite that execrable 'Love is Comedy').
It is a film that raises the joy of living, its sadness, its paradox. And, in the warm embrace of Felix: in his eyes, voice and face, we too can share his joy, his happiness, his dreams, his adventures.
Low-key, understated this film may be .. but see it, see it, see it. It's gold.
6 out of 6 people found the following review useful:
A charming road-trip fable., 24 May 2003
Author: Greg-o-rama from Rocky Mts.
"Drole de Felix" ends up being a road-trip fable that charms you with it's cast of delightful characters, a charismatic performance by Sami Bouajila as Felix, and the beautiful & striking scenery of France. The tale of a man in search of "family" (and finding that those relationships are a process, not a destination), it's a delightful movie, full of French sensibilities and moments of simple truths.
5 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
French road movie plus search for the father, 1 July 2005
Author: esh04676 from United States
Felix, fresh out of a job, decides to leave his home and lover in
northern France for a bit and travel to Marseilles and find the father
he has never known. He makes his progress by any means available, from
walking and hitchhiking to stealing (temporarily) an automobile. He is
unwitting witness to a street crime and gets beaten up himself; he
helps an art student do a drawing; and he helps an elderly lady with
her bags of groceries. Both the art student and the lady provide Felix
with temporary shelter before he moves on to other encounters, each
such meeting being labeled as "grandmother" or "brother," and so on.
Thus Felix acquires in essence the family he never had. An attractive
young man of Arabian descent He charms everyone,
including a man who works for the railroad system. They fly a kite together and then have a merry sexual encounter in the bushes, for Felix is gay and HIV positive. But the viewer is reminded that this is safe sex when there is a brief disagreement over how to dispose of a used condom, a situation gracefully dealt with by the French creators of this really charming film, which moreover provides beautiful shots of different regions of France, from the shores of Dieppe in the north to the Mediterranean coast in the south, with mountains and flower-filled meadows in between. This film was a continual and delightful surprise to me, and I'd recommend it to anyone who is not offended by the gay theme underlying all.
5 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
Less ideals and more real., 11 August 2001
Author: Paul Creeden from Boston, MA, USA
This light hearted travelogue managed to illuminate racism, HIV, aging, death, passion, commitment and fear with a gentle seductive light. It has less ideals than American films like it. Therefore, it seemed much more real, mostly. One big issue, homophobia, is treated most strangely as an anachronism. Felix makes out with his various men in public with fearless abandon, while he seems intensely aware of his Arab-ness. I can allow for the common American notion that Europeans are easier about public displays, but this aspect of the film did seem less real and more idealized. The French countryside is also portrayed in a very real way. Highways and power plants everywhere. Yet, the natural lighting and choice of shots conveyed the persisting charm of France. I was reminded of Eric Rohmer films, like "Autumn Tale". Sami Bouajila, as Felix, has camera chemistry and acts well. The supporting cast is evenly talented. I was thrilled to see Patachou, whom we haven't seen often enough here in the States. I think this film will be remembered as a very good movie with universal appeal, not a gay snapshot, like many of its American cousins.
7 out of 9 people found the following review useful:
Best feel good movie in years, 8 February 2001
Author: liveheroes from Brussels, Belgium
Have you ever gone to a movie with no expectations at all and
come out over-enthusiastically? Well this is the kind of film that
will make you leave the theater thinking 'Why am I complaining
about stupid details, I just need to enjoy every moment I live ?'.
Sami Boujila is superb as a gay, North African, unemployed guy who just lost his mother and has AIDS. Any normal person would just kill himself out of misery. But Felix won't. He decides to look up his father he never knew in Marseille and crosses the country meeting a lot of interesting people. The film deals with racism, indifference and homophobia, but is so fun too watch. If Felix was a Disney character, everybody would just want to buy a Felix-doll to look at when feeling a bit down.
4 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
A very believable story, just the way it could happen., 9 June 2002
Author: Vedek from Albuquerque, New Mexico
This is a charming film, very believable, just the way it could happen. Felix may be HIV+, but that is not exactly the issue here (he practices very safe sex). It's just a young man's odessy to find his biological father. Don't worry, it's a five-day trip. And, he interacts with some very interesting people. Very French. Very European in its conceit. I am 59 and if I were twenty-something again, I might try, like Felix, to find my biological father in much the same way. I would hope I could meet a "grand-mere" as delightful as Felix did. Felix is HIV+, but that is not the issue here -- it's more about a gay youngman's five-day odyssey. In the end, well, you will have enjoyed it all, but perhaps you won't know exactly why.
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