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'Adieu Gary' has no puzzling red herrings, no strong plot, no breathtaking plot twists, no last minute striking revelation, and yet the film will keep you interested, amused and moved.
Most of its characters are idle or have uninteresting jobs, and yet you will never get bored.
The storyline is slender, and yet the film will resonate with you and linger in your mind.
What exactly happens in Nassim Amaouche's first feature film? As I said before, almost nothing A worker in his fifties, who has seen his factory close, has decided, like a few others, to remain in the garden city he has always lived in, despite the fact that it has become depopulated. Now widowed from a Moroccan woman, he has two adult sons, Samir, who is back home after serving a prison sentence, and Icham, who has an unrewarding job in a supermarket but dreams of going to live in Morocco although he has never been there before. Francis has an affair with Maria, his neighbor, who tries to make ends meet by testing new medicines and whose teenage son has remained obstinately silent since his father went away. There is also Nejma, a beautiful second generation North African waitress as well as a various assorted inhabitants of the garden city mostly basking in the summer sun, for lack of anything better.
Kudos to Nassim Amaouche for achieving so much out of so little. His film lasts only 75 minutes but the director manages, with a light touch, to examine several serious issues such as the violence of today's industrial relations, the difficulty of being a (single) parent, of being a child, particularly when they are part of the second generation, the quest for dignity, and so on. It is amazing to see how basically serious this film is whereas you are never aware of it while watching it. You merely feel good in the company of the characters and only after the end credits have rolled do you surprise yourself still thinking about its deeper aspects, as though all the seriousness of the subject had been kept invisible while the characters interacted.
What makes "Adieu Gary" work so well is undoubtedly Nassim Amaouche's empathy for his characters. He loves them all, without falling into the trap of sentimentality and makes us grow fond of them too. Choosing Jean-Pierre Bacri for the main role is a bright idea. Only Bacri can combine so effectively silent sulking, aggressive humor and tender heart . Dominique Reymond is a nice pick too: easy-going but ironic and no-nonsense, she is a perfect foil to this eternal John Blunt. The rest of the cast, whether composed of beginners or seasoned professionals, all live up the challenge of keeping the viewers hooked to almost nothing.
Add to this a fine cinematography (beautiful without being over-aesthetic), a haunting oriental score by Trio Joubran. There is no question that Nassim Amaouche is a great artist. I look forward to seeing his previous shorts and his future features.
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