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Bienvenue chez les Ch'tis (2008)
Hilarious - a must see film
Bienvenue chez les Ch'tis is a simple film centred on: a) The misconceptions that those in the south of France have about the North and b) the Ch'tis dialect spoken in parts of the North.
The misconceptions, about the weather, culture, food etc, are taken to extremes, but are all the more funny for that very reason.
The use of the ch'tis dialect and it's differences to pure French are very funny indeed.
The story concerns a post-office manager from Provence in the south who as a punishment for falsifying a job application to the French Riviera is instead sent to manage the post-office in Bergues in the North. Our hero sets off for the North as if he is heading for his own funeral. Although initially shocked at what he finds on his arrival and on being unable to understand half of what anyone says he soon learns to love the people and the culture. However, he hides this fact from his wife because on returning to Provence at the weekends he finds his relationship with her is much better than before he left because she believes he is going through hell for the sake of his family. The scene where she finally arrives in Bergues is a joy to see.
The acting, particularly from the major characters is very good. There is no sex, no violence (one minor scuffle only), minimal bad-language and no special effects. There is one politically incorrect scene where both of the major characters are drunk, but it is very light-hearted and extremely funny. I would have no hesitation in taking my 12 year old child to see this.
Bienvenue chez les Ch'tis is currently breaking all box office records in France and it is a crying shame that it will probably never get a major international release in any non-French speaking country simply because the play-on-words between French and ch'tis will not work if the film is sub-titled. The film deserves to be seen, I haven't laughed so much at the cinema for years.