At a Montréal public grade school, an Algerian immigrant is hired to replace a popular teacher who committed suicide in her classroom. While helping his students deal with their grief, his own recent loss is revealed.
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Michel, the Belgian son of a paralyzed writer, husband of a Congolese refugee, and father of a future tennis champion, is an erratic inventor misunderstood by his employer. At age 41, he learns that he was born secretly in a barn in Québec, in the town of Sainte-Cécile, and given up for adoption shortly afterward. In the summer of 2000, Michel goes there and finds a sleepy village that soon makes him want to run back home. There, he meets a man who drives a car with a technologically advanced hybrid engine. On their way back to Montréal, an accident changes their lives forever, and what is uncovered will challenge the very future of the automotive industry. Welcome to "Congorama." Written by
I cannot for my life imagine why this movie was made. The story is both improbable and prosaic, as well as confusingly ill-told. The main characters are unappealing, though some of the supporting characters, and their relations to the protagonist, have a life of their own - they appear to be visiting from another and much better movie. The tone is uneasy and inconsistent, varying from slice-of-life to tragedy to melodrama to (very briefly) absurdist farce. The trailer that I saw was as misleading as it could possibly be, promising farce, while the movie is very bland and matter-of-fact. The last scene of the movie (I don't think this is a spoiler) shows the protagonist (there ought to be a short word, when you cannot bring yourself to say 'hero') driving a car in front of the phoniest back-projection landscape I have ever seen. The landscape is Africa - presumably the Congo - dragged in by the heels to justify the title. Are the Belgians still guilty about the Congo?
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