The Cabbage Soup (1981) Poster

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A rare tale about friendship
lnt-k19 July 2005
Non french people may feel very disoriented by this movie... Its dialogs and background refer to a scaring rural France which disappeared a long time ago. Dialogs sound dumb ? There are... Character look ridiculous ? They are... The story is a nonsense ? sure. So, what makes this movie so interesting and well known in french cinema history ? well, as i said in the title it is a very rare tale about friendship, and also loneliness and fate. The two protagonists are old poor isolated countrymen close to death. They have lost everything (love, youth, illusions, hope) but themselves and their friendship. The world has changed too much... The movie was released as a stupid comedy (it has this reputation anyway). But it is a very sad movie and i often saw people crying during the film.
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great movie, great comedian
staffhorst-nienburg18 August 2002
one of the greatest movies of the greatest comedian. I have never laughed more, than in " Luis und seine verrückten Kohlenköpfe"! Unfortunately de Funes died do early to had the chance to see his movies in the cinemas (I was to young). But he is in my memory. Thank you for a lot of great movies!
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A very pleasant film to see!!
rosacaron23 February 2004
"La soupe aux choux" is more than all things, the story of the sincere friendship between two old men. Besides and in spite of rough discussions between them, this friendship remains complete and always sincere. It's necessary to precise that these old men are not farmers, but peasants, one was a well-sinker, the other a maker of sabots. It's also a mistake to believe that peasants are some resistant to change; this kind of mentality comes from old age, and it's true for everybody.

The beauty of that film comes before all from the greay quality of the actors and of their interpretation. And it's true not only for Louis de Funès, but also for Jean Carmet and Jacques Villeret. It's surely because of the quality of the direction of Jean Girauld, on the one hand and the dragging of the quality of play of that tremendous actor who was Louis de Funès on the other hand.

I have seen that film about fifty times at least, and I feel the need to see it again about three to four times a year. Each time I like it and never find it vulgar, because it's necessary to be highter than the apparent vulgarity of certain scenes. Never forget that everyone can, at a time in his life do some scenes like these, and we should not feel ashamed to do that, it's all and completely human. It's precisely what the film is, very human, and it explains the attachment we have for it. Even if the film is a little budget one, it's one of the best of that great actor who was Louis de Funès.
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Yes indeed. An ode to friendship.
schiriac9 October 2009
I've read some of the comments before and it surprises me that people really try comparing this movie to others and expecting from it a classic approach to comedy or sci-fi or even drama. I have the feeling that you cannot judge this movie using the same common patterns because it simply is different. I don't think that producers really wanted this movie to be rushed to cinema or trying to manage making it within a tight budget. Well, it is a small budget movie, maybe, but it didn't require too much funds. You don't need a huge budget to do something really excellent. This movie is a completely new approach to any of the above mentioned genres. And, as lnt-k said just before me, it is above all a wonderful ode to friendship. That's all that matters here. And the actors are magnificent. Louis de Funes, may God rest him in peace, is perfect in this movie, even if the critics were not generous with the movie. I don't need critics to really enjoy a performance like this. Each time I watch it again, I love it more and more. 10 out of 10 from me.
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One of De Funes last films is also one of his best and most touching
t_atzmueller25 January 2014
There's a little magic in this film I'll have to add a little sentimental note here: This movie reminds me of good and bad childhood memories. The good being, that (like many Germans of my generation), I grew up with the Louis de Funes comedies so, yes, I was laughing very hard when I saw this film for the first time. The bad memories: a few days after having seen it first, I heard the de Funes had passed away and this may have been the only time in my life when I had tears rolling down my cheeks after hearing about the passing of an actor (this was before the time when everybody was racing to put a random, make-myself-feel-better "RIP" on Facebook, whenever a celebrity kicks the bucket).

In many ways, his second-to-last film was one of the most unusual de-Funes-Films. For one, the viewer can intrinsically tell, that De Funes was a very sick man; somebody who's at the end of his road, yet still summoning up his strength to give us the usual over-the-top, hyper-ventilating performance for which he was known and loved. Despite this being a "typical" de-Funes-Film, there are very strong, melancholic moments (especially those involving farmer Claude and his resurrected wife Franchine or the when Claude is reminiscing about past days), which was very rare for the typical de-Funes-film. What was also very atypical was the electro-sound-music that at times reminds of Jean-Michel Jarre. Some people have complained that the soundtrack wasn't fitting. Matter of personal taste really, but I dare you to look up the title-song on YouTube and not have the tune, be it the original or one of the many covers, stuck in the back of your head for a long time to come.

In essence, all slapstick and de Funes hyper-conundrum aside, it is a movie about people longing for simpler, "down to earth" (paradoxically) times, when you could still enjoy the starlit, countryside-sky with a friend, getting drunk on wine and Pastis (and, yes, not to mention the fart-tournaments between de Funes and Carmet, which goes beyond the contemporary "laugh because somebody farted"-joke). One of the films highlights is the scene where de Funes introduces his alien friend into the "art" of eating his homemade cabbage soup – watch it and tell me honestly to the face that it doesn't make you long for a bowl and a piece of bread, whether you like cabbage or not. Is this movie vulgar? Sure thing it is. Dishonest? Quiet the opposite. Makes one almost feel a little guilty writing this over the internet. Sure, those times aren't coming back, but that's what movies are for, no? One can honestly say: they don't make films like this anymore. I tend to ignore the last De-Funes-film ("Le gendarme et les gendarmettes"), thinking of "La Soup aux choux" as the final farewell from this master-comedian, as if to say: hey, no matter how tough things get, face them with a mischievous grin; what comes will come, but it will come more smoothly with a glass of Pastis and a bowl of home-made cabbage soup.

Mind you: this is by no means an objective review but I personally give it 9 out of 10.
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Grows on You
nicholas.rhodes23 June 2001
I remember being in France in 1981 and being taken to see this film which I found totally stupid as concerns the script. The years have passed and due to regular showings on TV here I have become gradually attached to the film. The film has acquired a sort of value with its ageing which was not apparent at the time it came out. It should be pointed out that the film is set in " Le Bourbonnais ", an isolated area in central France near to Montluçon, in the Allier Department. The local inhabitants are portrayed as " country bumpkins " eating cabbage soup and farting all the time. The arrival of an alien ( Jacques Villeret - quite a famous actor in France today ) from the planet of Oxo ( is it a play on words with the English beef-stock product ? )who takes a liking to cabbage soup will change the lives of these two " gentlemen ". I'm not saying it's a work of art but it is definitely not as bad as reputed when first released. In addition to that the film music is quite a catchy tune and readily available on CD. So all in all, without going over the top, I would say the film has its place in

French cinematic history. I am not sure, however, whether it would have any success outside France. Is it known elsewhere under another title which I suppose would be " Cabbage Soup " ???
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Great drama acting by de Funes
sergey-dio14 April 2008
I saw it and can say that this is very good old-fashioned comedy. (in the way Charlie Chaplin made). Louis de Funes - one of his last roles - is outstanding as always. Other cast is great too. Maybe the choice of Funes' wife is not good- I don't like her acting. SO, we have a very funny and sometimes sad movie with great language jokes and with couple of "words of wisdom":). See it if you like classic comedies, Louis, or just want not a stupid comedy for an evening at home. And of course this is much better than last de Funes movie - Gendarme and Gendarmettes - it's not show the level of de Funes talent and contains some really stupid jokes. So, if you want to watch some of the late Funes films see this one or The Miser (1979) which is so great!!!
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"Comedy is acting optimistic"
Ana_Banana15 February 2007
When I first saw it a few years ago, I have been deeply moved by this movie. Now I don't find it so striking, but when I reconsider it its humanity still remains. The clue is to love the characters, and then you would look sympathetically even to the stupid farting recital. The two old friends are in fact so kind at heart, striving to remain merry and hopeful, though are gradually deprived of every gift of life (youth, wife, wealth, other friends etc)! The merit of this movie is to speak in a simple way about big, sad issues. "Comedy is acting optimistic" (Robin Williams). On the plus side, one should add the great performance of the two leading actors, the jolly "accent du Midi", a too short cameo by Claude Gensac, and first of all the bitter-sweet, child-like and almost unreal solution to the loneliness of the two old men. On the minus side, a bit of a hurry sometimes, and especially the total lack of skill and motivation from the actress playing Claude's wife, ruining an important and rather unbelievable character.

The best De Funes film, quite different from the usual bulk.
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The Best of French comedy
nico-thom8 October 2005
This movie is the one I watched most often. It seems to be a bit foolish first, two old men farting all the time and an alien allured by that sound. But the acting is simply great and the humor quite intelligent. The German title of that movie is "Louis und seine ausserirdischen Kohlköpfe" meaning "Louis and his extraterrestrial heads of cabbage". The German version is missing some of the original scenes, e.g. one where Chérasse tries to hang himself. Unfortunately I'm lacking of speaking French, so I can't assess the original version.

It is my favourite movie with Louis de Funès next to "L'Aile ou la cuisse". He seems to be born for such a role playing a grumpy old man.
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Louis de Funès at his best considering his health
codco23118 February 2003
This was Mr de Funès on one of his last movies. Even if the health was not all there, he still had the touch and wacky ways of making us laugh. It had a moral, not to make fun at you elders, even if they are living in the past manners. You need to be open minded and you must be a fan of Mr de Funès to really appriciate his style of humour.
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Display of loneliness at its best
LakiM931 October 2016
Even though this movie shows itself as a lightweight comedy with a bit of sci fi, this movie's idea is way much deeper. "La soupe aux choux" is more than all things, the story of the sincere friendship between two old men through the ages. Besides and in spite of rough discussions between them, this friendship remains complete and always, but always sincere.

Louis de Funes acts very nice in this movie. Movie's cinematography is done nice with minimal light, which probably shows main characters' distance from the rest of the world. Another nice thing is movie's catchy score. About the acting of other actor's besides Funes' , it is maybe a little bit done in expressionistic style.

It's got a little bit bad effects(which is not so terrible, after all this is a 1981 movie) and somehow weird style of humor(jokes about farting) but after all, it has a happy end.
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A different, but adorable de Funès comedy!
IndustriousAngel9 September 2013
This comedy is a lot different from most other de Funès comedies in that it's very straightforward, there are few misunderstandings or complications, there's little of the choleric de Funès we know. Instead, at the heart of this film, there are two dotards leading their simple day-to-day lives and eating cabbage soup while waiting for their demise. Their quiet life is only endangered by the expanding city in the background.

When they unintentionally catch the attention of a cabbage-hungry alien, excitement ensues, friendships get adjusted, and of course there's a happy "ending". What makes this very simple story so fun to watch are the three main actors, they're so adorable you could watch them an hour longer without ever getting bored I think.
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Funniest Alien of all
csagne9 October 2007
This film, based on René Fallet's book, is a must see in French comedy. For a start it features Louis de Funès in one of his best roles (I'm not a fan of de Funès, I find him too vigorous and slapstick) as well as Jean Carmet and of course the extremely young Jacques Villeret. Jacques Villeret plays the funniest alien (ALF excepted), attracted to a small French farm where two old winos drink and eat cabbage soup before farting under the stars. Jacques Villeret, in what is probably a revelation of his talent to come in Malabar Princess and Diner de Cons is the laughing stock of the film, nicely enhanced by a countryside music (a favourite ring tone today in France... believe it or not).

The most important aspect of this film though is the script by René Fallet. How come? Old people farting under the moon? Indeed. René Fallet asks two important questions through this book / film. What happens with old people when their kids are gone? What happens when old people suffer of loneliness? What happens in the countryside when small villages die? And for that twist, that important thought, this comedy reveals a more tragic side. Watch it for the funny bits though.
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Louis de Funès "Limelight", and ultimate delight at his career's twilight...
ElMaruecan8218 September 2017
Warning: Spoilers
Can you ever think of a movie that combined sci-fi with folk/country culture? Don't try, there's only one, a little French treat titled: "The Cabbage Soup", the penultimate movie of old-time partners Jean Girault and Louis de Funès and certainly their ultimate classic if we forgive the final "Gendarmes" movie in 1982. Critics literally spat on this soup, but it aged like a good wine… or did people learn to relate to the two grumpy old men, now that they grew more wisdom… and less hair?

Because "The Cabbage Soup", albeit a sci-fi movie, is less about aliens than it is about soups. The film is set in a rural village that looks like a ghost town, victim of urban expansion, so blatant the mayor would trade its remain dignity for a touristic park to keep it alive. There's no park yet and in one of the last occupied spots two farmers still live: a well digger named Le Bombé (Jean Carmet) and a clog maker named Le Glaude, played by Louis de Funès. They're alone, their only fun consist of sharing some bread, wine, thoughts about life and death and even indulging to a few flatulent contest. Yes, you'll hear a lot of farting in this film.

I guess this isn't the film's finest moment, not it is the one we'd love to remember from actors De Funes and Carmet, but why should we deem it as 'genius' when Mel Brooks employ it? I won't try to over-analyze this moment, I don't enjoy it either but to the film's defense, it's not used gratuitously, it's the fart that literally "calls" the alien (what difference would have it makes if it were belches?), and in a way it established the farmers' regression to ennui-driven childishness. And paraphrasing 'Mel Brooks', I'll object against the vulgarity label, the film like "The Producers" rises above vulgarity.

Indeed, the bad odors are immediately covered by the delightful aroma coming of the cooking-pot, just like when you enter the kitchen and can tell your favorite meal is being prepared. The farmers live alone but still have enough ingredients to display the most heart-warming hospitality for everyone, including an alien. Even if he's dressed like a SM chick, and makes gobbling noises, like an acute internet used said "he's no less ridiculous than an Ewok". And how refreshing that for once that an Alien comes to Earth, he doesn't visit the White House (or the Elysium Palace), that's what a good French sci-fi film should have, not the 1979 wannabe American ersatz with the Gendarmes.

Yes, forget about these invasion tiresome plots, and imagine "Close Encounter with the Third Kinds" as guests for a Thanksgiving dinner and you'll have a clue about how heart-warming the film is. "The Cabbage Soup" deals with the relationship between friends, between a man and his memories, not to mention, his future. The catalysis to all these events will be a friendly alien played by the lovable rotund comical actor in his memorable debut: Jacques Villeret, the unforgettable François Pignon from "Dinner for Schmucks". It is only fitting that he could play with the then greatest comical actor.

And De Funès was already weakened by his heart condition and after "The Miser", his other co-adaptation with Jean Girault, his need to restrict his roles had uncontrollably brought more sadness and poignancy to his acting. I deplored his work didn't have taken that path earlier, there's something in Funes' contemplation of loneliness aging and declining health that echoes the tragedy of French farmers. If the promises of suicide made by Le Bombé play like a running gag, keep in mind farmers is the profession with the highest-rate of suicides in French, with cops, which De Funès also played… ironically. De Funès never hid his admiration for his idol Chaplin, and while he never achieved the dream to make a silent masterpiece, this film is the closest to Chaplin's "Limelight".

It's De Funes "Limelight" as well as his twilight and one of a certain vision of France. There's a statement made in this film, about French roots and origins, symbolized by something as simple and heartfelt as a cabbage soup. Many moments can strike as outdated, childish or not too funny, but it's on the highest spots that this film hits a sensitive chord, one involving the resurrection of Glaude's deceased wife coming back at twenty and unable to resists to the call of the city. The attractively decadent town planning is even more powerfully rendered in a scene where the two farmers are like monkeys in cages visited by tourists who throw peanuts at them, a dying breed indeed.

One could ever draw a sad parallel with the evolution of French cinema. De Funès' time was over, but it needed a final hurrah. And I applaud Girault for having the guts to conclude the film in such a cheerful way. While it might strike as a sort of Deus Ex Machina, you can't just resist to the sight of three actors, all deceased by now, playing accordion and going aboard a flying saucer to a planet where death doesn't exist. I would love to imagine there's such a place where Funes, Carmet and Villeret (and Girault) are sharing a few jokes and enjoying themselves… just no farts!

"The Cabbage Soup" is really one of a kind, but it does treat its material rather seriously, the composer himself, veteran Raymond Lefebvre wanted to make a music in the wave of electronic music and mix with a popular folk song, needless to say that the theme is one of the most popular of French cinema, a regular ringtone and one of the film's elements of endearing success.

There's a cheerfulness, a gentleness and a tender poignancy in "The Cabbage Soup" but ultimately you'll savor the film like the best meal with your friend, and a last supper with comical legend Louis de Funès.
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a great movie
Kirpianuscus13 May 2016
more than a film, a parable. more than a comedy, a reflection. about old age, about the fall of a world, about friendship, about importance of fairy tales who gives sense to life. it is seems absurd in many moments. but it has a special tool to become memorable- Louis De Funes. old, close to death, he does an unique mark to a character who reflects all the sins, virtues and absence of expectations of a rural France.he is not Cruchot or l'Avare but only a mall old man. and Jean Carmet is the perfect partner in a work far to be easy. so, The Cabbage Soup is a sort of legacy of a great actor. sad, almost cruel, using humor to describe the roots of contemporary France, it is a great film. for the memories. for the acting. for the special feeling who becomes useful after its end.
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Le Glaude,le Bombé et l'Oxien: a tale about friendship
zutterjp4830 March 2019
Based on a novel of René Fallet "La soupe aux choux" this film tells the story of two old friends who live far from the village centre and share wine, food and jokes.Suddenly appears an alien from the planet Oxo where people live 200 years.Then begins a strong friendship between them. I liked very much this comedy : the performances of Louis de Funès, Jean Charmet and the young Bernar Villeret are really very gone.Last comment: who could imagine that a plain cabbage soup could unite people of different worlds ?
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Red wine, cabbage soup and La Denrée!
LeRoyMarko11 December 2004
When I first saw this movie, about 10 years ago, I really liked it. I remember making cabbage soup and drinking an entire bottle of wine the same night! But today, my opinion of the film differs. Not that it's a complete waste of time, but it seems it was rushed into production. Great actors (De Funès, Carmet and Villeret), but not used to their full potential. And some scenes are just plain stupid, like the farting contest. The difficulty for peasants to adjust to today's lifestyle could have been more well explored, even in a comedy of this sort. One bright note: La Denrée, played by Villeret. His language is hilarious!

Out of 100, I gave it 66. That's good for *½ out of ****. Ten years ago, I gave it 78. Seen at home, in Toronto, on November 28th, 2004.
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It could have been the Best French Movie of the Century
Rex, Regis21 August 2000
Everything has been gathered in order to produce The French Movie of the Century : the best actors around (some of them even famous outside France), a great scenario written by a team of highly-skilled professionals (one of them, Jean de la Bine-Boilue, died last year and we will always keep high the flame of his memory), more than one hundred technicians, among the best ones available at that time, two SFX studios used for the UFO scene ... the list would be too long. But, maybe due to a lack of will, the project finally ended into a kind of common movie, airlines-designed film. We all know that this movie had a critical influence on famous directors like Roland Emmerich, the same way "The seven Samurai" influenced G. Lucas, but, with a kind of regret in mind, we have to think what a wonderful movie it would have been if all the people involved in the project would have done their best.
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nearly nothing to save from René Fallet's novel
dbdumonteil21 May 2002
This film is an adaptation from René Fallet's novel: "la soupe aux choux" that is a good novel. Two farmers who are fond of red wine and of cabbage soup are visited by an extra-terrestrial who apppreciate the soup. In exchange of soup, he comes back to life one of the farmers's wife who will quickly leave her elderly husband due to his age. Because they are aware that modern world doesn't fit them, the two farmers are leaving on another planet with their houses and their soup. When you watch this film, there is one thing that is very obvious: it was especially made for Louis De Funès (besides, he wrote the screenplay of the film with the director Jean Girault) and consequently the other actors have got only a decorative role; if you compare Jean Carmet and Jacques Villeret to De Funès, the two actors are very pale. Moreover, this film is often vulgar (De Funès and Carmet who make a stupid competition of farts after drinking a lot), and dumb too; the music that is made of synthesizers is completely incompatible with the story and sounds like Abba music. This vulgarity can even fade to racism to farmers. All around the farmers' houses, an enormous town was built and its inhabitants are laughing at them. The only positive points that you can put forward are Jacques Villeret who is very funny when he's shouting "glou glou glou" and even if De Funès hams it up, it's always nice to see him getting angry. At last if Fallet had seen the film, he would have feel betrayed and if this film is too crude for you, you can always read the novel.
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