The Adventures of Felix (2000) Poster

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The French know how to make a good gay film!
alexo-521 July 2001
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.
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Tres charmant!
barbg15 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.
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That rarity, a gay film without angst
jandesimpson22 February 2002
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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The Adventures of Felix lives up to its title
Bob Drake16 June 2001
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 journey.

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.
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JOYFUL, JOYOUS, CELEBRATORY -- a piece of gold -- within the rainbow's reach
philip-ct12 November 2004
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.
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A charming road-trip fable.
Greg-o-rama24 May 2003
"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.
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Less ideals and more real.
Paul Creeden11 August 2001
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.
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A very believable story, just the way it could happen.
Vedek9 June 2002
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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Charming and Beautifully Filmed
numberone_120 December 2001
What a wonderful, charming movie that centers around the journeys of a gay man of Arabian descent as he travels from his home in Normandy to Marseilles.

I thoroughly enjoyed this film, not only for its unbiased treatment of homosexuality, but also for the stunning scenic shots across France, which only added to the overall beauty and enjoyment of the film.

Wonderful all the way around.
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Felix is a fun guy anyone would love to meet while traveling
Jan Spaapen17 August 2000
FUNNY FELIX (as the film is called English) should really be "Fun" Felix, not "Comical." The film depicts the travels of a young French guy, ethnically half Moroccan. Felix, after losing his job in Normandy, starts a journey to Marseilles, in the other extreme of France in search of his father, whom he has never met. Along the way, using the back roads, Felix meets a bunch of characters, all of whom are presented as surrogate relatives. He also encounters rampant racism, homophobia, and other obstacles. Nonetheless, Felix manages to enrich the lives of all those he meets, even as he often takes the law and morality into his own hands. He has a gift of simplicity, overcoming adversity, and befriending others which are amazing, and are very well brought to the screen, without fake sentiment or sugary, melodramatic, or moralizing tones. As a movie critic said (loosely): "We would all love to meet a 'Felix' traveling through our lives."
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French road movie plus search for the father
esh046761 July 2005
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.
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Best feel good movie in years
liveheroes8 February 2001
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.
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Warm & Charming
shaid21 February 2001
Warning: Spoilers
"May contain A spoiler"

Félix (Sami Bouajila) is a gay, HIV positive and unemployed man who lives in the North part of France,who decides to go on a journey to the South of France in order to meet his father,whom he never knew. On the way he encounters some people who become a sort of family for him.

Through Félix the film tackle subjects such as racism & homophobia and raise the question of what is a family? Though these subjects can make any film serious and heavy, the film itself is charming and light-hearted and have a warm feels to it, which make it easier to watch and very hard to resist.

Go and see,you won't regret it.
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Dans le route encore
B2426 August 2004
Offbeat but thoroughly digestible film that counters my usual take on French cinema as being dolorous and tedious. To be sure, such happiness is found in some rather amoral settings and activities; but close examination controverts even the most uptight opinions found among these reviews.

It is indeed a "road" movie -- one of the best I have seen in terms of either its execution or its premises. Every common version of the genre is confounded, however, by unexpected surprises along the way. You cannot stop watching until the end. That is the mark of excellence in my book.

Imagine -- just imagine -- how great it would be to reach the point at which Hollywood could conjure this kind of universal "family" film.

Nah. It will never happen.
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This is rather his trip that is funny!
dbdumonteil31 May 2003
With "western" by Manuel Poirier, "drôle de Félix" ranks among the few French road-movies that can equal American road-movies. This is the story of a young man, Félix. He's a middle manager in a firm, lives in Dieppe and he's HIV positive because he's a gay person. One day, he decides to make his way to Marseille in the south of France in order to meet his father and he doesn't know him. A long route full of pitfalls is waiting for him but it will be the occasion for him to meet several people. He'll become so attached to them that he'll even consider them as members of his imaginary family!

I think that these different meetings are of varying quality but the film-makers wrote a clever screenplay that avoids the stereotypes linked to Félix' disease. Félix is gay and HIV positive but no-one is aware of it (except, of course, his lover at the beginning of the movie). During the trip, he's doing his best to hide his disease.

The movie especially enjoys an outstanding performance, of course Sami Bouajila but also the actors who constitute his "family". Moreover, the rhythm is well sustained. At the end of the movie there remains a doubt: this man who's fishing on the docks of Marseille, is he Félix' real father or an unknown person? You can think what you want...

A slight, nice movie and a new lease of life for the road-movie.
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Relaxing film, Great music
silvarga19 July 2001
This movie was just what I needed. I found myself enjoying the adventures (and company) of Felix, anticipating the next extended family member he would meet. I was also touched by the music of the film. It's a shame that there wasn't a soundtrack produced. I did manage to track down a few of the artists and song titles for anyone who might have loved the songs also.

The music from the opening and closing credits were sung by Blossom Dearie. They are entitled "Tout Doucement" and "Plus Je t'embrasse" respectively. Several songs were by Arabic artist Cheb Mami (who recently colaborated with Sting on his latest album). Also, if you're interested there are some great 50's era songs out there by Patachou, the actress who played Mathilde (Grandmother) in the movie.
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Absolutely Wonderful
cllrdr11 April 2001
Saw this film last night and just can't get over it. Ducastel and Martineau are the best thing to happen to French cinema in years. They have a wonderful way of treating Big Deal issues without any sense of heavy-handedness. As a result they've made a film about AIDS, racism, same-sexuality, and coming to grips with the ups and downs of life that's both optimistic and realistic. Sami Bouajila is a genuine find, and the great 50's era singing star Patachou gives an incredible performance as his "Grandmother." I'm still walking on air over this one.
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enjoy life, even with bad premises
shevek16 September 2000
After about 5 minutes I thought: "Oh no! How can this become a good movie?" - A joung man, homosexual, HIV-positive and without job... his mother died, his father disappeared to Marseille and he looks like an arab. But it's a really funny road-movie about life, that you don't need to worry just because of such facts and that you should enjoy life, no matter what happens.
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An Easy-Going Delight About Self-Discovery
museumofdave17 April 2013
This is primarily a road movie, but tucked neatly into the structure of the film are many messages--it's perfectly OK to be who you are, that life changes quickly as you adapt to it, that AIDS doesn't need to be an immediate Death Sentence, that an appreciation of the richness of diversity expands your own horizons.

Like Huck Finn, Felix strikes out on a journey to discover something about his own abilities and strengths, and like Huck, he encounters vivid and often delightful personalities and new environments which he will not forget. I appreciate the understatement of director Ducastel's style, and much enjoyed the sense of a life worth living no matter what the circumstances
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sweet and easy going
Step O'Rafferty20 July 2006
This is a film that I liked because it reminded me of my own hitch-hiking road trips as a young gay man in Australia and New Zealand. Felix is a very likable character and I enjoyed going along on his trip with him!!!

I also found it interesting to get a glimpse of life in France from the perspective of a gay man who has some North African blood in him. I liked the way the film focused on his relationships with the people he met along the way, all of his encounters were heart warming and humorous. I especially liked the way he related with the elderly woman who invited him back home to her place.
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More of a symbolic fantasy than a realistic depiction of characters in believable situations
Howard Schumann30 April 2007
In the French road movie, The Adventures of Felix, Felix (Sami Bouajila), a young gay man who lives a happy life with his boyfriend Daniel (Pierre-Loup Rajot) takes to the open road after he is laid off from his job, traveling by foot and thumb from Dieppe to Marseilles on the Mediterranean, looking for the father he never met. Daniel stays behind but agrees to meet his lover in Marseilles after his visit with his father. The film is divided into chapters marked by inter-titles such as "my little brother", "my sister", "my cousin", and "my grandmother" implying that Felix discovers a substitute family, though his contact with each member of the "family" has strong sexual overtones. While most encounters are engaging, no lasting connection seems to be made, and it is unclear how these chance meetings contribute to the character's growth.

Aside from a troubling incident in Rouen where he witnesses a murder and is afraid to report it to the police because he is an Arab, for Felix everything seems to be a joy, at least on the surface. HIV is no more annoying than having to pop in some pills each morning. Seventeen-year old boys are eager to jump into bed with him, people who pick him up while hitchhiking readily agree to stop for a lark in the park. Even a grandmother (Patachou) asks him to help her with her groceries while he is sitting on a park bench and confides her intimate life story to him without hesitation, not a plausible scenario in today's security-conscious world.

Although The Adventures of Felix is a warmhearted film and Sami Bouajila is a terrific actor, it feels more like a symbolic fantasy than a realistic depiction of characters in believable situations. Some actions are baffling. For example, it is not clear why Felix feels he has to steal a car in order to impress a teenager, tease him by inviting him to a gay disco, then refuse to have sex with him the same night. The car theft incident is presented in a lighthearted manner and the director seems to be saying that when perpetrators of antisocial or criminal acts are so charming, their actions ought to be without consequence.

The issue of safe sex is also not explicitly addressed. I have no problem with downplaying the effect of HIV and the way Felix includes it without having it stop him from living a full life is admirable. Yet we never really find out how the illness affects him in any way. Though we see the two road lovers tossing away their condoms after an encounter in a public area, it is not reassuring that the main protagonist does not feel HIV is important enough to mention to his lover, hardly a role model for others in the same situation. In one of the more entertaining episodes, Isabelle (Ariane Ascaride), a plainclothes policewoman picks him up en route to delivering her children to their fathers.

While Isabelle is a believable person, it is unfortunate that the only woman in the film (aside from the grandmother) is shown as having three children from three different fathers, perhaps as a counter balance to Felix's promiscuity. The conceit of the film is that both gays and straights can be flawed, yet this revelation does not in itself make for complex or interesting characters. Nevertheless, the dialogue with the children explaining their conception of their "daddy" is quite funny and some semblance of self reflection occurs when Felix acknowledges to Isabelle the reason for his not reporting the murder he saw in Rouen. In spite of its shortcomings, The Adventures of Felix is a beautifully photographed and involving film that, if not taken too seriously, is a pleasantly uplifting way to spend two hours.
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Informative Lifestyles
harry-7612 November 2001
Not being acquainted with provincial French culture, I can't exactly evaluate the accuracy of the remarkably instantaneous associations made by Felix with those he meets on his travels. It does seem that folks take to him immediately, inviting him into their homes and treating him like a longed-for family member.

Perhaps this is how it is in France nowadays. If so, they're certainly are a friendly lot, and Felix indulges their invitations with a bon vivant spirit.

Unfortunately, it's made clear that Felix is viral-positive; thus, when he engages in an intimate relationship with a driver who picks him up, it's another matter. Since there's no indication that Felix shares his health status with this stranger, what the enactment becomes is one of possibly infecting an innocent, unknowing person.

There's nothing light or pleasant about that prospect, in fact, just the opposite. Thus, what's seemingly a light-hearted, carefree journey, becomes a much more dark tale of blatant moral irresponsibility.
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Another road movie about a young man who leaves his town in North France to search for his father in the South. It's about all the people he met on his way.
Firas19 February 2001
Like many French film this one shows you the inter human relations between Felix and the people he met during his hitch hiking trip to south France. He is supposed to look for his father whom he never knew. On his way to his final aim he gets to know many nice persons and he considers them as family members. In this manner he meets a brother, a sister, a grandmother and a cousin (with whom he had a more intimate relation than that of cousins). These people have different lives and Felix shares with them for some hours or days. All characters are opened and willing to have a human contact with others. Felix is also half Algerian and thus encounters some problems. The film shows a bit the problem of racism and the mistreatment of North African Arabs by some people in France. It showed also the fear of Felix of the police although he didn't do anything wrong. This signalises a possible mistreatment by the police as well! It's also worth mentioning that there is homosexuality in this film. Felix is a homosexual and there are some intimate homosexual scenes in it, so I have told! This movie was somehow interesting for to watch but it was principally nothing special or new! Also as often in French films there are no special effects or great soundtrack. It is worth watching for people who like this genre.
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Not at all as feel good or innocent as lead to believe
SunnyBert4 March 2001
I took my mature-age daughter to watch this movie, believing the enthousiastic user comments. Being of simple single-partner hetero stock, we were not prepared for the degree of physical contact and the degree of hopping into bed with any one encountered under the age of 70, with or without sexual activities. Loyalty obviously not an issue, also not an issue that being sero-positive is not communicated to the bed-fellows or otherwise worried about. We thought we were broadminded, but far from breaking down barriers, this movie creates distances. Unfortunate, missed opportunity.
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Entertainment level: close to zero
teejay440712 October 2008
I wonder why many people like this movie so much. Why was it interesting? I have no idea. I think I have a problem with French made movies; perhaps because of how they are directed, but I think it's just the screen writing. They always fail to develop any interest for me. I've only tried 2 or 3 mainstream films, and now only two gay-themed films, and it was with great surprise that I truly enjoyed "Just a Question of Love."

On several technical levels, "Felix" was quite good; I gave it a "2" because as I sat there watching, I kept asking myself, "Why am I wasting me time doing this?" In the end, all that really matters is whether I enjoy watching the movie. And in this case, I didn't.

It's not that I go mainly for all-action, adventure flicks --- it's exactly the opposite: I rarely watch them. I get the point of the film, but it was not -- for me, at least -- presented in a way that I found the slightest bit entertaining. In fact, the story itself seemed hardly worth telling. I fast-forwarded through most of the movie after the "My Brother" sequence, stopping for a glance now and then. Nothing. Maybe I missed the good stuff.
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