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Barjo (1992)

Confessions d'un Barjo (original title)
The narrator, "Barjo" (nutcase, crap artist), is an obsessive simpleton, given to filling his notebook with verbatim dialog, observed trivia, and oddball speculation on human behavior and ... See full summary »

Director:

Jérôme Boivin

Writers:

Jacques Audiard (dialogue), Jacques Audiard (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Richard Bohringer ... Charles
Anne Brochet ... Fanfan
Hippolyte Girardot ... Barjo
Consuelo De Haviland Consuelo De Haviland ... Madame Hermelin
Renaud Danner Renaud Danner ... Michel
Nathalie Boutefeu ... Gwen
Jac Berrocal Jac Berrocal ... Mage Gerardini
El Kebir El Kebir ... Le gardien de l'usine
Louise-Laure Mariani Louise-Laure Mariani ... Petite fille
Gilliane Sanki Gilliane Sanki ... Petite fille
Camille Gentet Camille Gentet ... Fanfan enfant
Charles-Elie Rouart Charles-Elie Rouart ... Barjo enfant
Lise Péault Lise Péault ... Irene Siccora
Bertie Cortez Bertie Cortez ... Capitaine Cosmo
Anne Bailly Anne Bailly ... La femme métal
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Storyline

The narrator, "Barjo" (nutcase, crap artist), is an obsessive simpleton, given to filling his notebook with verbatim dialog, observed trivia, and oddball speculation on human behavior and the end of the world. When his house burns, he moves in with his twin sister, Fanfan -- an impulsive, quixotic egoist -- and her husband, Charles, the Aluminum King. Charles becomes the focus of the film, as his wife and brother-in-law bewilder him. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

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Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Romance

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Details

Country:

France

Language:

French

Release Date:

7 July 1993 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Barjo See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Based on the Philip K. Dick novel "Confessions Of A Crap Artist." See more »

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User Reviews

 
about as "lighthearted" as Phillip K Dick adaptations can get, which goes without saying...
21 June 2007 | by MisterWhiplashSee all my reviews

Confessions of a Crap Artist was one of the few, if maybe the only one, of Phillip K Dick's books that didn't rest in some kind of alternate reality or future reality or some strange sci-fi landscape. It was semi autobiographical, regarding a man who obsessive compulsive as he was with his odd collection of items was obsessive with his sister and her husband even more. This French adaptation maybe wasn't entirely faithful to the source (from what I've heard, anyway, I haven't read the entire book), but it feels through and through like a PKD work, even with its lack of sci-fi platitude. If anything, this is like a Wes Anderson film in some ways. Not simply for the pat base of comparison that it is "quirky", although that is arguable. There's a lighthearted, strange sense of comedy to it all, but there is also a dark dramatic side to it, a level of tragedy of the everyday and mundane that transforms even more as Charles watches his sister and her husband's relationship disintegrate little by little through massive health problems, jealousy, infidelity, and a big psychological power struggle.

The acting is all pretty top-notch too for such a low-budget French indie, with Hippolute Girradot as one of the more convincing "off" obsessive compulsives I've seen in any comedy/drama, with a look in his eyes that looks scarily as if he isn't acting. The married couples respectively (Anne Brochet is on the surface just a b****, but as the film goes further there's almost a sadness to her character that she reveals ever so slightly, and Richard Bohringer as the fed-up husband is terrific too) are truthful to the passive-aggressive and just normal tendencies that get mixed up in the downward spiral that is mostly apparent to the pessimistic "world is going to end" Charles, who types everything out on his typewriter as if it's the most important information possible. If it isn't an entirely successful movie it's because, frankly, Jerome Boivin isn't quite an accomplished director enough with his style. He takes a very fanciful manner with many of the typewriting sequences, and to the speed of the first section, which goes by pretty quickly, and also puts in an underwhelming catharsis at the end (it's the re-appearance of Charles that doesn't work, not the emotions that are sort of conveyed).

But there is a good deal that does work about Barjo, making it one of those underrated and under-seen treats that many PKD fans probably don't know about. It's very funny, for example, to see the sci-fi TV movie re-enactments, or just little things in behavior from Giradot, who will repeat an action another character may do, or will suddenly say something randomly to break the tension, and it will click just right. It falters from being great, and it's conceivable someone could do a better adaptation of the source, from what seems most like Dick's work anyhow. Yet it is a good find nonetheless, something to add to the "crap" collection, as a compliment I mean.


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