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|Index||20 reviews in total|
Lionel Baier's "Garçon Stupide" is touching and sad -- and occasionally
original -- without being wholly successful. It blends material from
both Baier's and his non-actor star Pierre Chatigny's lives for the
portrait of twenty-year-old Loic, a French-speaking Swiss gay guy who
divides his time between an assembly-line job at a chocolate factory in
the town of Bulle; graphically shown anonymous sex Loic finds via
Internet; taking photos with his cellphone (which makes him dream of
being a photographer); and chatting with his long-time pal Marie, a
more mature woman at whose place he mostly sleeps. The split-screen
sequences in which Loic's intense, bold sex scenes and the hammering
factory machinery at his day job get paralleled are very obvious; but
they do have the virtue of sharply veering away from the saccharine,
super-sincere quality of so many gay coming-of-age films. This director
doesn't look away from the mindless, self-destructive aspects of his
main character. Unfortunately "Garçon Stupide" ultimately plays out too
randomly to have an overriding viewpoint.
Loic becomes enraged at Marie one night. Her new relationship with a man has made him jealous. He calls her a slut, forgetting he's a super-slut himself. She kicks him out and says the relationship is over. This changes everything, since now he has no friend he can count on, or any friendly place to sleep.
The film, which is a rough but assured collage up to here held together by its vérité feel and the tall, striking (if blank-faced) Chatigny's strong physical presence, disintegrates into fantasy and sentimentality after the breakup with Marie. A narrative that had seemed real now begins to feel like thoughtless improvisation. Something happens to Marie. Loic wanders off and has a telegraphed car accident. He cashes in his savings to buy a professional quality video camera. In a pathetic, pointless digression, he pursues a minor football star from Portugal who plays on one of the local teams.
All this undercuts the simple specificity of the earlier sections and gives the film the appearance of having lost its way. Loic is naive, emotionally stunted, and ignorant: he tries to look things up in a dictionary but since the lacunae include such basics as Hitler and Impressionism, he has a long way to go to reach the middle-class/artistic life he dreams of. He is estranged from his family and without Marie has no one. The film, which avoids the conventional gay coming-of-age clichés, ends on a down note for two reasons -- because both Loic and his future are dim, and because director Baier lets his first film's promising opening crumble away into random pieces as it moves along. Loic ends with a long catalogue of things he is not going to become, but there's no sense of where he's going or what he will be.
Director Lionel Baier has created a work of freshness and imagination
and truth. The few melodramatic clichés he employs stand out only for
their rarity. In choosing Pierre Chatagny to focus his camera upon,
Baier has chosen brilliantly. (Baier who plays an older friend, Lionel,
to Chatagny's Loic, is glimpsed just once. In truth the director is a
young man of 28 with much great work ahead of him on the evidence of
Though the character and, I would say, Mr. Chatagny at 20, is self-absorbed and vain as 20 year-old boys tend to be, his natural beauty reveals itself in every movement of his eyes and his isolation in the stark awkwardness of his stance. He is not hard to watch or gawk at for 90 minutes.
Loic,a horny Swiss youngster who has notched a lot of casual nocturnal sex, envies his sisterly girlfriend's enjoyable personal relations with her boyfriend, distrusts Lionel's apparent disinterest in immediate sexual gratification and feels hopeless in the presence of an adored soccer player's fatherly love for his three year-old son. Luoc is by turns angry and despairing and anxious.He has begun to suspect it doesn't always boil down to just sex but he doesn't know if he has anything more than sex to give or take and if there is a place in him where there is more he has no idea how to reach it. But after much pain and damage the first unexpected crack of sunlight in the wall of Luoc's frustration comes through beautiful and true. Jim Smith
I saw this film in New York and was blown away by the acting ability of Pierre Chatagny. For somebody who has never acted before in a professional production, he certainly has a bright future ahead of him. While many films attempt the same docu-drama format that Garcon Stupide features, I have yet to see a film that succeeds at it as well as Garcon Stupide. From the beautiful shots of the Alps to the intense night scenes shot on the streets that Loic works, this film provides a stunning look at a young man arriving at one of the most crucial moments if his life. Loic constantly blurs the line between sex and love and leaves us wanting to know more about his turbulent life, if only to help him discover his true identity.
This film took me into another country and into another world. It is a sensitive exploration of a young man trying to get his needs met the only ways he knows how. Luic, the young protagonist, is sorely lacking in his ability to cultivate the potential for relationships that appear in his life. The longing and hunger for emotional connection is powerfully expressed throughout the film. I wanted the young man to reach out to the other characters in the film, and the frustration I felt echoed that of Luic's. Obviously, he did not develop meaningful relationships in his childhood. And this has placed him inside a glass fortress of his own design. The filmmaker captures the human suffering associated with the conflict between our needful souls and our quest to live a life that speaks to those needs. I look forward to more films from this young director.
I enjoyed this film. It has a lyrical quality, and it is essentially a character portrait. Many Americans will tire of the film quickly, because they expect clearer character development and a more coherent plot. But if these qualities ate not essential to you and you like French films, you will find this movie touching and memorable. (I know that this is a Swiss, not French, production, but I think most Americans will view it as stylistically French.) The main character and Chatagny's performance, reminded me greatly of Joseph Gordon-Levitt's character and performance in "Mysterious Skin." (Many Americans will prefer this movie, though the subject matter is darker.) I love both films, both performances. I hope to see more films with Pierre Chatagny.
Though most reviewers and viewers are putting this film down as a waste
of time, this particular viewer sees many redeeming factors here that,
given some further time in the editing room and a bit of script
doctoring, could have resulted in a moving story.
Young Swiss filmmaker Lionel Baier has both written (with Laurent Guido) and directed with quasi-autobiographical story that explores the coming of age of a lower class young lad who seems destined to settle for being a hustler. Loic (first time actor Pierre Chatagny) works in an assembly line chocolate factory in Bulle, Switzerland and his only 'life' is provided through his internet activity meeting men for sex. His casual sexual encounters (rather graphically shown in the first portion of the film) are his only answer to relating to people until he meets Marie (Natacha Koutchoumov) with whom he rooms and bonds. Marie is bright and encourages Loic, uneducated and uninformed, to look up words he encounters- a simple but well-intended manner in which Loic can improve himself. He meets the older Lionel (played by the director Lionel Baier) who dangles before Loic's eyes the possibilities of finer things in life. Loic spends his idle hours with a digital camera and between his new interest in photography and his pursuing his 'basic' education, he begins to long for a life more significant than his brainless casual sex. He becomes friends with a soccer player and his son, loses his friendship with Marie when Marie finds a real lover, and ultimately Loic yearns to escape the life of the 'stupid boy' of the title and enters a dreamworld fantasy of something better.
Good ideas for a film here, but Baier seems to get sidetracked into artsy camera work, quasi-porno, and surrealistic moving lights and alpine scenery, and the film falters as a result. But there does seem to be some promise of a new filmmaker on the rise, This film may not be tolerated by some for various reasons, but for the adventurous spirits who are unafraid of a bit of male frontal nudity and sexual acting out, here are redeeming aspects to this little film that merit attention. Grady Harp
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
A very sexy, natural and stylish film about a "normal live" of a young
men... compliments to to director and the actors! so complicated and
funny is life today in modern Europe.
But it is not astounding that the most refreshing film with topic of homosexuality comes from Switzerland.
This country shows in deed an astoundingly positive tolerance an "bienveillance" in front of the gay &lesbian community, how was showed by the acceptance of homo-"marriage" by the peoples-referendum in spring 2005.
It is to hope, that such films can increase tolerance also in other countries, like USA, which are far more behind the development in Europe.
So: look this film a make an opinion. Tolerance is alway a virtue.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The age of twenty is something of a milestone in life. The teens are
gone forever, and the first phase of adulthood is begun.
Many youths manage this transition smoothly, while others find it more difficult. Loic, the antihero of "Garcon stupide," has a tough time.
During the course of this film, he supposedly sheds his sexual orientation, bounces from relationship to relationship and in the end, takes a stand on what roads he doesn't want to tread.
That he's confused is not atypical of twenty-year-olds. It's time to phase out sewing wild oats and begin settling down. Just where Loic wants to go seems unclear, and Writers Lionel Baier and Laurent Guido end on an inconclusive note.
By the same token, their entire lean narrative is in free form (often using spit screens) with time and events sometimes out of synch. There's no denying that Pierre Chatagny's naturalistic portrayal of the main character is clearly etched.
Opinions seem to vary regarding the effectiveness of this depiction, which is reminiscent of Sebastian Lifshitz's "Presque rien" (2002, with Stephane Rideau).
"Garcon stupide" was presented by Cinematheque --one of America's premiere film series, located in University Circle of Cleveland, Ohio. The audience at that showing was highly attentive and quite empathetic. (harry/76)
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This film is an interesting tour through the experiences of the main
character, Loïc. The title of this movie is perfect--Loïc is definitely
un garçon stupide. He has no emotional attachment, save Marie, his
roommate/friend. He hooks up with other men online--of various ages and
preferences--for meaningless sex. His mind is blank and simple. He does
not know even what Impressionism is, or who Hitler was. He is detached
from everything around him.
Lionel (who is also the director/writer/periodic cameraman) is a pivotal character in the change that Loïc undergoes. He explores new interests--most notably photography. He begins to learn that people can be interested in things other than sex. All the while, a turbulent undercurrent plays out for him. Marie has found someone. Though she does not spend an abundant amount of time with him, Loïc is thrown into a jealous rage. The two part ways, and Loïc becomes depressed.
Seeking companionship, Loïc becomes fascinated with Rui, a local footballer. He follows Rui, watches his games, and exhibits stalker-like behavior, including photographing him without his consent. Then the movie falls apart. Marie dies, though it is not entirely clear if she killed herself (in the scene where Loïc finds her, she is on the bathroom floor, bleeding; there is a rope tied around her neck and the exercise bar that Loïc installed has been torn from the doorway). Loïc then runs away and visits Rui, a process which is never fully explained--he is invited into Rui's house, introduced to his son, and the three go on a picnic.
It is then that a different Loïc is shown: one who is caring and compassionate. He cares for Rui, whose eyes were irritated by the sun. The scene then jumps to an overturned car driven by Loïc, and then to the hospital. A random man and his wife take care of Loïc until he is better. He then photographs a parade with socialists, communists, gay activists, and what appeared to be a fascist. The movie begins to end with him developing an identity, though it is not clear what that is. The final scene, and the only one in the last twenty-five or so minutes of the film that made a lot of sense to me is at a carnival. He wanders around, then gets on a ferris wheel. He is shown flirting with a guy in another seat, who looks back and smiles. The movie is an interesting exploration of Loïc's character, but the last few scenes are so fragmented that I'm left wondering what happened.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Reading the other comments it seems everyone misses The Big Point in
the movie: the meeting with Rui (the famous soccer-player) and the car
accident serve as a catharsis for the main character Loic.
One could argue that the meeting with Rui never really takes place, but is just a dream Loic has when he's unconscious after the car accident... I'm not sure, and I think that's exactly what the director wants me to be...
Before the accident Loic has clearly lost his way, doesn't know how to give and receive love and fills that void with pointless sex. (Yes, some gay sex is quite bluntly shown, but to me that seems to have a very clear function) The split up with his platonic girl-friend/soul-mate Marie and quickly after that the unexpected death of her trigger a frenzy that ends in the car crash (or in meeting Rui and then the crash...)
After his accident Loic ends up at his parents place again, and seeing them we get to understand a little bit of his handicap in love. But he's changed, the (dream-?)meeting with Rui and the death of Marie finally made him 'grow up' and see things, life, in a more adult, a more loving way. He starts to see a future for himself, not clearly, but at least clear enough to know what he doesn't want. In the end he even seems to discover the possibility of falling in love,,,
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