Like many artists Cyril Brody is jobless. In order to get the welfare allowance he must work on a an integration project. He chooses to make a film examining the notion of service. To this ... See full summary »

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Credited cast:
Siegrid Alnoy ...
Elle-même
Valérie Ardoino ...
Elle-même, la conseillère du CDIS
Hélène Arnaud ...
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Bernard Barc ...
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Cyril Brody ...
Lui-même - le réalisateur du film
Marie-Rose Brody ...
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Sylvie Casen ...
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Victor Casen ...
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Yann Casen ...
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Béatrice Chéramy ...
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Rodolphe Congé ...
Celui qui veut dormir
Jocelyne Desverchère ...
Celle qui veut un enfant
Vincent Druguet ...
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Clémentine Dugas ...
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Santiago Esteban ...
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Like many artists Cyril Brody is jobless. In order to get the welfare allowance he must work on a an integration project. He chooses to make a film examining the notion of service. To this end, he sends a letter to twenty persons in his circle of relatives and acquaintances offering them to do them a favor of any type and to have the experience filmed Written by Guy Bellinger

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Documentary

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4 March 2007 (Belgium)  »

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1.33 : 1
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Awards: Prix spécial du Jury et Prix du Public aux Rencontres du Moyen Métrage de Brive 2007. See more »

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Original, intelligent and engaging
4 October 2010 | by (Montigny-lès-Metz, France) – See all my reviews

Difficult to find another film looking exactly like Cyril Brody's "En service". Sure, the departure point is close to Myles Berkowitz's "Twenty Dates", but instead of dates filmed by and featuring the author, it rather consists in twenty services rendered to twenty people filmed by and 'starring' Cyril Brody, with a big difference though: Berkowitz records anything and everything and is all the more unfunny as he keeps showing the viewer how witty he is whereas Brody, by remaining modest and sincere throughout, manages to capture the viewers' interest with a rather austere subject. On the other hand, Brody's way of filming the real world while being present on the screen, making it clear that his film is a personal commentary and not an alleged unbiased record of reality, calls forth the name of Agnes Varda. But Cyril Brody is primarily Cyril Brody and his 59-minute "En Service" is in fact unique. No, don't try to find another film like this one. You would waste your time.

The departure point, for instance, is very unusual. Being unemployed, Cyril Brody has applied for the RMI (a French Welfare allowance). To get it he must sign a contract stipulating that in exchange for the money he must propose a project in order to facilitate his integration into the working world. Brody is a filmmaker and his offer evident : he suggests to ... make a film! But what is more unexpected is the subject : having been encouraged from childhood by his parents to do others favors, he writes a letter to twenty people, in his family or in his circle of friends and acquaintances, saying he intends to help them in any way they like, including granting the craziest or weirdest wishes, provided the scenes are filmed.

Sweet-looking Cyril Brody starts visiting those who have answered his letter and engages in various activities, ranging from the mundane to the zany, from installing shelves to taking apart a bicycle to posing as a friend on the telephone to finding a passage in Tolstoy's "The Brothers Karamazov" ... Some of these sketches are downright funny, which does not prevent the director from going deep into the examination of the notion of service, notable through enlightening conversations with his friends and family : is giving a helping hand necessarily a selfless action? Doesn't always being the one that helps irritate others making them beholden to you? Helping yes but how to help? To go even further and to ask even more disturbing questions , Cyril Brody downright makes up two or the three of the sketches and have them improvised by actors. In one scene he is supposedly asked to help an insomniac to go to sleep and to watch over him while he is in the arms of Morpheus and in the other a woman asks him to make her a baby and become the kid's dad!

All these scenes, in turn serious, unexpected and crazy, are punctuated with the monthly meetings Cyril Brody has with his employment agency adviser. First a bit patronizing and using official jargon, she gradually relaxes and finally becomes complicit with this charmingly eccentric citizen. Refreshing!

Entertaining and thought-provoking, "En service" is a must see if you ask yourself questions about generosity and selfishness,about how to behave towards others, about who you really are. Agreed, this is philosophy but philosophy is not necessarily boring. Nor does it clash with a touch of eccentricity!


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