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André S. Labarthe
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This is to my knowledge the very first film of indie actress Bulle Ogier, who was part, along with Pierre Clémenti and Jean-Pierre Kalfon, of the original cast for the play "Les idoles", which inspired this film. A film that is a tasteful blend between a stage happening and a musical. Marc'o, then a stage veteran who was directing his first feature, was a visionary, as he had grasped most of what the cult of youth idols such as pop-stars was all about: a very fertile ground for business and cynicism. Gigi la folle, the wrongly innocent sweet blonde played by Bulle Ogier, was inspired by pop singer France Gall, whereas Charlie le surineur, played by a wild Pierre Clémenti, is more or less Johnny Hallyday, a supposed natural-born rebel, i n fact a totally artificial marketing produce. As for Jean-Pierre Kalfon, the last of the idols, he plays a dishevelled and mystic palm reader turned into a frantic singer, a compromise between the Beatles under their indian period and a bunch of psychedelic bands such as they existed then. The three of them dance and sing all along like roaring lions, giving a very impressive performance of raw pop power. Although their voice qualities are not the strong point of the film, the music is rich and varied, ranging from quiet ballad to over-the-top kick-on-stage dance routines.
The portrait Marc'o gives of the french youth on the eve of May 1968 is of a world seething in unrest, reading supposed rebellion orders on the lips of their teen idols. In that way, Les idoles is a political point of view about the power of the media and music over the consciences. All this in bright and wonderful colors, psychedelic interiors, a visual world close to the world of the series "The Prisoner". A great film, a very intelligent witness of its time.
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