Sometimes you like a song, a person, an animal, a flower, and you don't know why.
It is hard to say why I like "Va, petite!" - but I do. Not because it is French... they can make it pretty boring sometimes... but because it is very French in things where they are best.
The storyline is simple and doesn't diverge a lot. François, a born loser, wants to commit suicide, but meets a woman who wants to do the same after killing her husband. They give up suicide ideas and as she surrenders to police they promise to meet on the same place when her jail years are over. He finds a job as a sailor and never leaves the ship until 5 years pass and the day of meeting approaches. As soon as he leaves the security of ship he gets into trouble (without being guilty) with local police who arrests him, and when he escapes they claim him the most dangerous criminal in France. Avoiding police he meets a 13 year old Marie who joins him (against his will), and soon they steel a car without noticing a toddler on backseat...
There are recognizable moments in the movie.
Growing up. It seems that François has never really grown up; it is dubious if Marie will manage to do it, too. She ran away from home - neglected more than molested, ignored rather than abused. A loser like her, she finds a similar soul in François, in the same time a father figure and an object of her waking hormones. But it's hard to expect that she'll ever get a chance to abort their mutual feeling of being rejected by the rest of the world. (If you watch a movie till the literally - last sentence you'll know what I mean.) And Simone, a woman who gives them a one-night shelter, does more for Marie to understand world and herself than her mother has done in her lifetime, but it's hard to believe this will be enough.
Homeless. A road movie is one of American genres, but European made a (big) modification, don't use it often but, when they do, it is so different. It is easy to remember "Alice in den Stadten", mostly in the middle of adventure . And though the hero works for the police in "Ladro di bambini" and the "Va petite" one is hunted by them, these movies are not so different.
False accused. Another so often used topic. In 50's it would be a film-noir. A hero would run away, but, as he wouldn't have a place to hide, bad boys would protect him; soon he'd become one of them and be killed in last scene. In 60's he would patiently wait for police to pick him up, stay in prison, but a gorgeous lawyer or a rebellious reporter would prove he is innocent, usually five minutes before execution time. Since 80's things have changed. Hero would become a vigilante, and would kill at least thirteen hundred people to prove everyone including us that he is a good boy.
François is not American and doesn't do anything of that. He had his share of hard times and believes they'll somehow pass (be replaced by another hard times), so he doesn't turn back and doesn't plan in advance he has a goal and ignores the world as much as the world allows.
Obsessed. François is a loser since his birth, and life on a ship couldn't make him adjustable to the world. He made a commitment before going to voluntary isolation, and this commitment was all he had to keep him up for five years. Long enough to make him obsessed, especially as there was nothing else that he could have leaned on.
François meets different people while trying to reach the meeting place on time. Some are new and could change his life, some are people from his childhood, but he neglects them all. Wrong. His obsession neglects them. This is not a psychotic obsession of "Beautiful Mind" or "Crime of Passion" nor a lifelong but slow obsession like "Morte a Venezia" or "Legenda del pianista sull oceano"; no, it is an precise and time limited obsession of Fitzcarraldo carrying a ship over Ands, or the priest from "Dia de la bestia" who has a limited time to prevent birth of Anti-Christ, and most of all obsession of White Rabbit who has limited time to reach the Queen.
And once this simple story full of positive emotions, sometimes in danger to become a fairy tale, comes to an end, we are confronted to a harsh reality. This movie doesn't go far to become a real tragedy but the mood of hope disappears like a bubble. We get the end that could have been expected from the very beginning... we were only beguiled by our heroes, wanting them to (once in their lives) succeed.
This humorous drama is often on the edge of surreal, closest in scenes where François and kids come to a lonely farm owned by a Polish princess who is raising goats(!). Here this road-movie (again) approaches Alice in Wonderland, but in the same time this is one of the most emotional parts where author gives a quick lesson what a coming-to-age movie is and why is it useless to look for one outside France. If you know them and love them, don't miss it. If you prefer what Hollywood offers on this topic don't ever lay your hand on the box. Who knows what adverse reaction may be caused by so incompatible materials.
0 of 0 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?