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La cloche (1998)

| Short, Drama
People are queuing outside a cinema. A vagrant comes to them and not content to beg from them, he calls out to them dwelling on the injustice he suffers from having no access to culture. ... See full summary »

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Cast

Credited cast:
Catherine Audibert
...
Le clochard
Gérard Barreaux
...
Le spectateur qui offre le billet de cinéma
Maya Berling
Philippe Berling
Claire Ingrid Cottenceau
Catherine de Montalembert
Danièle Douet
Sophie Hatier
Sylvain Jacques
Anne Kron
Nathalie Mazeas
Séverine Molina Cruz
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Storyline

People are queuing outside a cinema. A vagrant comes to them and not content to beg from them, he calls out to them dwelling on the injustice he suffers from having no access to culture. Feeling guilty, one of the moviegoers buys him a movie ticket. Bad move since, once inside, the tramp makes constant efforts to play selfish, shamelessly disturbing the audience and spoiling the show. Written by Guy Bellinger

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Short | Drama

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1.66 : 1
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Tramp! Tramp! Tramp!
18 June 2016 | by (Montigny-lès-Metz, France) – See all my reviews

Who knows that actor Charles Berling is also a film director? Not his main activity for sure: if you indeed compare the nearly 90 films, TV movies and series episodes he acted in with his performing the task of film maker only twice, his directorial career obviously does not amount to much. Nevertheless, the two filmed objects he created at least exist: the first one, titled "La Cloche", is a short made in 1997 while the other, "Sur les traces de Gustave Eiffel", is a feature-length TV documentary shot in 2008.

"La Cloche", the first of the two movies - and the one that concerns us here – is a fine comedy that would deserve to be shown much more widely. When I say fine I mean fine in the end because at first glance this project had many odds against it: it is mere farce; it lasts only seven minutes and eighteen seconds; it revolves almost exclusively around a single character (a vagrant), the other ones being barely outlined ; it illustrates hardly more than a single idea: 'hell is paved with good intentions'. But Charles Berling manages to make the most of such meager stuff, turning it into an irresistible small delight.

Greatly contributing to the pleasure is the hilarious performance of Michel Aumont, just wonderful as the vagrant. Brilliant in the field of comedy, Aumont is rather an expert at mild (if biting) irony, so it is quite surprising to see him make great gestures, holler, fume and fuss, in other words let it all go. And he does a wonderful job of it: you really get the feeling that after the director has uttered the day's final "Cut!", Michel Aumont will return to his home... under the bridges! Moreover, with his big bristly beard, he is totally unrecognizable. A real treat, believe me!

Another happy choice by Charles Berling is the skillful device consisting in having the tramp gradually fill the screen. At the beginning, a lot of people can be seen queuing outside a cinema and the vagrant is only one among those he is disturbing. In the next sequence, as he is inside the theater and given a ticket, he occupies more space in the frame and fewer moviegoers are seen, and only in the background (with the exception of the man who is charitable to him). From then on, whether in waist shot or in closeup, we will see no other character than the nuisance always intent on spoiling the other spectators' pleasure. In the last shot, the down-and-out triumphs, his crazed face almost too big for the screen and his demented words drowning out all the other sounds. This gradational invasion of a sphere of pleasure by a very unpleasant character is the great find of this modest but far from impersonal short film.

Finally, as far as the substance is concerned, you will find amiable this short fable about the negative spillovers of political correctness. Indeed, by wanting to fight against prejudices along right-thinking lines, the poor moviegoer played by Charles Berling is poorly paid. Mind you, the moral of the film is not 'Never help others' but rather 'Think twice before acting'. This is what the good-hearted spectator should have done instead of giving an unbearable slob leeway to annoy not only him but all the people present.


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