Joey Wellman, a cantankerous American cartoonist, accepts an invitation to come to an exhibition in Paris, because his estranged daughter Elsie is a student there. He arrives with his girlfriend Lena, and very soon wants to go home as the culture shock is too much for him. Elsie puts off meeting him because she is busy trying to find Professor Christian Gauthier, in order to get him to read her thesis on Flaubert. However Gauthier is enamored with American culture, and invites Joey and some other Americans to his mother's house for the weekend. Elsie arrives at the gathering in time for the masquerade party and to see her father beginning to appreciate French culture. —Will Gilbert
Franco-American relations will surely get a boost if this film is shown to the concerned people.
Before shooting "I want to go home", if Resnais had thought of keeping somebody in mind, it is quite possible that he must have had ruminated about both American and French public. "I want to go home" shows why French fascinate Americans so much. It is a fairly honest portrayal of why French have all the respect for Americans. It is so hard to believe that this comic film was made by Resnais. For the last five decades, he has remained a highly intelligent intellectual cinéaste who has excelled in making difficult films about memories. Watching his films can be likened to a concentrated reading of a "stream of consciousness" oeuvre. Not only will this film charm die-hard francophiles like Paul Auster, Johnny Depp, William Fiedkin, Jim Jarmusch, Hal Hartley and John Malkovich but also fans of comic strips as it is not so often that one comes across a feature film in which there is a happy marriage of cartoons and film. Through this quirky work, Resnais has advocated popular culture as in today's world Mickey Mouse, Snoopy, Charlie Brown and Garfield are as relevant/necessary and useful for everybody as Flaubert, Stendhal and Sartre. "I want to go home" is a light film which provides a multiplicity of meanings for its viewers. On an elementary level it explores cultural differences between French and American people. On another level it is also a tale of an amicable reconciliation process which happens between a father meeting his daughter after many years. This emotional turmoil has been shown in a very dignified indeed subtle manner. Although it might seem odd, this film makes it absolutely clear that French have a penchant for admiring those American artists who have been ignominiously rejected/ignored back home in USA. One classical example is Samuel Fuller. He enjoys a bigger, dedicated fan following in France than in United States of America. "I want to go home" is a film which can be understood by all kinds of artists. It speaks of different arts like cinema, comics etc. This is why Resnais has collaborated with great artists like Enki Bilal, Jules Feiffer and John Kander. The highlight of this film is the fact that it shows how all arts are interrelated as well as mutually beneficial. In "I want to go home" the characters alternate between serious mood and comic mood. This is because people can't always remain funny or serious. Resnais makes us all imbibe a logical lesson that in our daily lives we have to react according to the situation in which we find ourselves. Lastly it is high time that it is said that although Americans might abhor French or vice versa, the truth is that both of them cannot live without each other.
- May 4, 2007
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