2 items from 2015
If Michel Gondry’s movies were books, they’d come with hand-stitched covers, fold-out pop-ups and a progression of flipbook-style doodles in the bottom corner of every page. No other working director brings quite the same lo-fi, do-it-yourself quality to his filmmaking, and yet, Gondry’s inventive charm has often proven to be his own worst enemy, overtaking and cutesifying stories that might play better without all the confetti and curlicues. With “Microbe and Gasoline,” the French writer-director has wisely restrained his usual flourishes, allowing the two teenage leads in his relatively calm summer-vacation coming-of-age comedy to assume center stage, imbuing them with creative agency, rather than forcing them to compete with the film’s own style. What emerges is an admittedly small, but wonderfully sincere portrait of two adolescent outsiders determined to pave their own way in the world.
Quietly released in France after being slighted by the festival circuit, »
- Peter Debruge
Microbe et Gasoil
Though his last feature, 2013’s zany and effervescent Mood Indigo, had a tortured flight to the box office, the steadily busy Michel Gondry also released a documentary, Is the Man Who is Tall Happy?. Now, he’s reteaming with his Indigo star Audrey Tautou to headline a cast of newcomers with a roadtrip film that recounts the wild adventures of two teenagers who are somewhat marginalised: the tiny “Microbe” and the inventive “Gasoil”. As the summer holidays get ever nearer, the two friends have no intention of spending the two months with their families. So with the help of a lawnmower engine and various planks of wood, they decide to build their own “car” and set off on an adventurous road trip around France.
Cast: Audrey Tautou and a cast of first-time children actors.
- Nicholas Bell
2 items from 2015
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