Benjamin, 9, has lived with his paternal grandmother since the death of his mother. He decides to join his father, Christian, gold prospector in Brazil, accompanied by his two grandmothers who hate each other.
The story of nine-year-old Benjamin and his two grandmothers who hate each other in search of his father, a gold miner in Brazil. Pursued by killers, a jaguar who hates opera, Indians who fall in love with the two grannies, they eventually find Jean, the best friend of Benjamin's father. Because the father, he came back to Paris - Finally, that's what they thought.
With its main two female stars, it's location shooting (it's mainly filmed in Brazil), I would have expected MORE than just a rather superficial entertainment from «Le Fils du Français» («The Frenchman's Son»). Alas! it's almost not at all involving. For instance, one of the two grand mothers (played by Josiane Balsko) is an unsympathetic character: she's rude and a thief and a cheat at cards, and the French (improvised) guide is not much better: he's loud and vulgar. Although this effort from Gérard Lauzier does have some undeniable qualities, such as it's fast moving scenes, it's good photography, scenery and acting, it also fails in its hesitation at being a film of a certain given category: is it supposed to be a comedy? a (very vague) social comment on racism or xenophobia? a study of conflicting characters ? I think that it's mainly the adventures of two grand mothers and their young grandson looking for the boy's father, mostly in the Brazilian outback and jungle. There are a few interesting scenes such as the one when the trio, lost in the wilds, is surprised at night by a roaming jaguar. But even then, the outcome of this «frightening» episode (which I won't reveal), though unexpected and almost unbelievable, is supposed to be funny. Another interesting but short-fused but at first very promising episode occurs when the two women (unawaringly) are chosen to be the wives of two native chiefs. Again, the outcome failed to give me the excitement I expected. As for the always exquisite Fanny Ardant (somewhat of a casting error since she looks too young to be the mother of a man in his thirties), as far as I'm concerned (specially if you're one of her fans), her presence alone would be enough to incite you to see that movie : she reveals another facet of her talent... and charm, in a new kind of restrained part. By the way, this movie shows the often seen natives in their natural habitat and in their almost full nudity. In short, not a bad movie but not a very good one either: with its stars, it's location, I would have expected a more «consistant» effort : I found that one of it's most important failings is the expected clashes between the two very different grand mothers -- which turn out to be very mild, to say the least - and which could have been exploited in a much, much better and much more interesting and funny way !
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