Michel Vaillant (2003) Poster

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Good entertainment!
Boba_Fett113817 July 2004
It's funny how much this movie is hated and bashed by mainly the French speaking people and critics for whom Michel Vaillant is a real icon figure, while in the rest of Europe and outside of it, this movie is regarded as a good movie! It are mainly the people who grew up with the comic books that saw and hated this movie, hence the low rating on IMDb.com. But for those who aren't familiar with the comic books this movie is a fun watching pleasure and very well worth seeing. I'm sure when the movie gets more world widely released, the rating will go up as well, something this movie really deserves.

This movie is a great example of how a movie based on a comic book should be. The movie is very stylish and uses some great camera positions and editing (even though at times the editing is very sloppy)

Granted that the story is absolutely unbelievable and dumb but in this case I had no problems or what so ever with it. Keep in mind that this movie is based on comic books, so if you expect any reality or logic, this movie might not be your kind of thing. Just sit back and enjoy and don't think too much about the story.

Of course the best things about the movie are the races. For a race lover this movie is a real must see. The races are really spectacular and should get your adrenaline flowing.

I certainly wouldn't mind seeing more Michel Vaillant movies being made!


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Might I disagree?
Dockelektro23 February 2004
Well, ok, it's no masterpiece, but I seem to be the only person here that took some enjoyment from it. The comics in which the movie was inspired are not there, I agree, but when you accept it like another movie and not an adaptation, you'll probably like it. See it for the sheer pleasure of seeing a racing competition and a great display of technical achievements, and you won't come out disappointed. This is one of those movies that don't bear a close scrutiny, but that's not the reason why they made it. Good to know that at least it's entertaining, and has some feeling. Sometimes only that makes it worth while.
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A very uneven movie
jimraynor24 November 2003
This movie is strangely uneven. On the one hand, all the shots on a racetrack or whenever somebody drives a car are very nicely shot and framed. But when it's a transition scene, it has the look and terrible acting of a third-zone TV feature. Some shots are not even really in focus ! Furthermore, all the post-production dubbing of the foreign actors is quite off, and the story has some big plot holes. For instance, why don't they even try to call the police ? What's left is a movie with some pretty girls, very nice cars and some good action sequences. Not that bad, but not enough to make a good movie.
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Very well made! Simple script.
Runfire28 August 2004
Well, the movie is very well made, personally I like the car racing world, and you can see in the movie that Luc Besson is fan of cars. The script is very simple, is based on a comic, and it's not really very original, but the effects, and the way that frames were took made the movie interesting. Don't expect a kind of stuff like "the fast and the Furious" or "taxi" because the movie doesn't try to be spectacular , it trys more to find quality images. The rate I gave to the movie is a 7, and i find that the actual rate 4.5 is not enough.

(If you have played to Pro Race Driver or went to karting you will enjoy more ;)).
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Great action !
killy_nl13 September 2005
I never read any Michel Vaillant comic book. Maybe this is the reason why I found this film so great: the sound of roaring cars, the pictures of the silent sky, slow motion on details, expressive colours and a thrilling plot. Two enemies, Vaillant and Leader teams, see each other again after 13 years during the 24h of Le Mans, ready for a showdown. While the Leader team never heard about fair play, Michel Vaillant tries to make the best out of a desperate situation. 15 Minutes before the end of the race it seems that he has no chance at all to win the race ... So, if you like racing games (e.g. Project Gotham Racing) this film is a must. After watching it, grab your joystick or wheel , charge Forza Motorsport ans blast your enemies !
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Check your expectations before watching this movie
marsbetr21 October 2012
Warning: Spoilers
First of all, this movie is very beautiful to behold. Great cinematography, slick cutting, good capturing of the dynamics of car racing and the events on and around a race track. While this movie is not a major Hollywood production, the director did a tremendous job on blending narrative and real imagery from an actual event, the famous 24 Hours of Le Mans 2002.

Years ago, I read a few of Michel Vaillant's adventures so I had a basic understanding of what this movie was about and of course, was keen to see this stuff being adapted. And watching this movie, this is what you really need to keep in mind: It's an adaption of a comic strip which is mostly focused on telling a good action story and less on character development, pace of narration and the like.

Some of the scenes are pasted together as they would have been in the comic strip, where subplots are sometimes told within 1-2 pictures. That way, it is fair to say it's a suitable adaption of the original strip, but understandably, not everybody may like it.

I read some fans of the comic strip do hate the movie. I can understand this, but admittedly, adaptations are prone to being opposed in general. You simply can't make it right for everybody.

The movie mostly suffers from the mediocre script. The writing is blunt at times. The plot comes up with a nice twist (SPOILER: Vaillant in place of Cramer trying to save his dad driving best he could, while Wood fighting him, thinking he's Cramer :)) and most arguably, a better script would have made more out of this.

As said, it's a comic strip adaption. Even then, some of the characters are simply non-credible. Esp. Ruth Wong and partly Julie Wood (SPOILER: who acts like the Merry Widow after losing her man in a car accident. And just slapping Cramer for sabotaging her man's car, no comment). All the characters remain flat. Add some 5-10 minutes of extra playing time, a few lines of profound dialog, some strong punchlines and you'd get the movie to where it should be.

Not sure if we will see another Vaillant movie. Don't believe it cashed in its expenses. It surely suffered from being under-advertised. Compare this to blockbusters such as Fast and Furious and all its derivatives. For sure it's not worse than these.
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neil-egan13 December 2005
Warning: Spoilers
First of all to gerhard24's comments - the cars at LeMans use normal petrol however, they have a special refueling system with two hoses, one on each side of the car: fuel in one side, air out the other so you're right, they couldn't have refueled at a regular filling station. As for the smoke coming out the front of the Leader: this is perfectly accurate as the Panoz LPM1 (aka "Leader") has it's engine in the front - one of the only racing prototypes at LeMans that does.

Anyway, I found the movie really disappointing. I was at LeMans 2002 when the two extra cars ran to film the sequences for this movie. We were all really looking forward to seeing the final result and frankly I was gutted when I did. Lame story with far too many inaccuracies to make it it any way believable: no way anyone could run out onto the track (Odessa) and and and....They missed out completely on building up the atmosphere before the race and from the way it was filmed it looked like only the Vaillants and Leaders were racing.

However, in Germany the DVD s well worth buying just for the additional material: making of and a series of complete laps of LeMans filmed from inside the Vaillant (Courage) and the Leader (Panoz). Great stuff! Dump the movie though.
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The Perfect Racing Film PERIOD
michaelsuan16 July 2004
First of all I would just like to say that I'm a graduate of the film arts and am currently working as'a commercial/mtv director, so its safe to say that I know a thing or too about film making. I truly believe after watching this film in its original French release that this is without a doubt the best Racing film ever, and probably will remain so for a very long time. Not since Wong Kar Wai's "Ashes of Time" has a film been able to stun me with it's flawless shot composition, breath taking cinematography and frame accurate editing. For those who complain about it's predictable story and poor dubbing. All I have to say are two things; first this ain't a suspense thriller or political drama its a RACING MOVIE so don't expect "The Sixth Sense", second if your a real film enthusiast or anybody who respects a directors work, you would never lower yourself to watching a dubbed film. But then again this film is so gorgeous that anybody with half an eye for cinematography can enjoy it without ever understanding a single word. Now back to the film. First thing that comes to mind when your watching this movie is STYLE, whats a decent racing movie without style to back it up. This film is just oozing with COOL from the very first frame to the very last. I can honestly say that not a single frame in the movie looked plain or boring. The look of this film is something straight out of a fancy BMW commercial.Every shot in this film seems to have been lit picture perfect, that if you were to jump in at anytime you'd think your watching a fancy watch commercial or something. This may not be good for all films but works perfectly for this one. The shots in this film some of most breath taking you'll ever see, things like a butterfly flapping its wings as the cars are about to take off, and Michel Vaillant sitting in a room filled with rotating fans as he contemplates the death of his friend. These are just a few examples, but the list goes on and on. This is one of the few commercial film directors out there who seems to understand the concept of using artistic cut aways and beautiful inserts in juxtaposition to actual story shots in order the give a film flare. The directors use of music and non story oriented shots such as the cutaways to the clear open skies, or the rippling of a cup of coffee, or a drop of rain falling onto someone's shades really help to elevate this films worth.

An finally this film has some of most incredible racing sequences ever caught on film from virtually every angle you can ever imagine in virtually every atmosphere you can think of. From rain to snow, from pavement to mountainous terrains this film has it all. So for car addicts you'll be in for treat. Oh and the actors and actresses in this film are how should I say too cool almost like everyone's straight out of GQ magazine which may be bad for other films but really works for this film cause it really helps to build up that Racing mystique of beautiful cars and beautiful people. After watching this film you'll wanna put on a new Zegna suit and take a hot babe around the block in your brand new Lotus, but then again not all of us have that luxury.
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nice try but no thanks
petra19 November 2003
The movie starts with a lot of noise and a spectacular scene. But that's about it. The story is predictable and the characters not convincing enough. In this movie are the bad guys bad, and the good ones good. No depth in any character. The scenes with the cars are spectacular and that's the only good thing about this movie.
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What a load of crap!
Jocke7210 January 2005
I could only bare watching the first 20 minutes until I started skipping chapters and using fast forward on the remote. The acting is really bad, and my grandmother drives better then this! The driving is quite slow and not spectacular at all. For a great car chase have a look at Ronin (de Niro) and of course Bullit (McQueen). For any car enthusiast this movie is a real pain to watch. I did not expect a documentary but at least some fast driving, good acting and some base in the real world.

I read on the back of the cover that Luc Besson had a 200.000.000 Kr(!). Where did it go? Stay away, is my advice.
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So bad it's funny
sjakka19 November 2003
This was one of the worst movies I've ever seen. Bad acting, bad sound, bad story, bad plot, bad music, bad directing,...

The actual racing was never realistic or fun to watch as in some real movies about cars. (Italian job)

I started counting every ridiculous thing I could see, about a half an hour before the ending, and ended up with no less than 87.

Unrealistic, dumb, irritating, predictable, childish, boring, but I must admit, funny. (although not intended)

I gave it a 1/10
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far above the line
nose_smasher29 May 2007
Warning: Spoilers
Usually I don't post comments here because I'm lazy :) but I do when I'm impressed positively OR negatively. OK, now let's start.

First of all, I must admit to be a little too subjective regarding this movie, because I love motor-sports. I saw Michel Vaillant just one hour ago at TV and here is my verdict:

TOP NOTCH: -the visual style, absolutely stunning, is the first thing what hit your eyes. Luc Besson did again a great job. For those who aren't see the film yet, just imagine that the BBC's Top Gear crew did all the shots. -strong, saturated colors, a feast for the eye -unusual angles: rear or front bumper, the tribunes shot vertically, etc. -short, but memorable scenes: a butterfly flapping the wings and taking off from the hood as the engine is started, a brake disc heated within a second to red, the two prototype race cars appearing suddenly from the behind of an old Citroen 2CV (ha ha, brilliant), the race truck (team Vaillant) rushing into the lake, rising a big water curtain and scaring two fishermen in a boat. -a lot of in-race shots, a must-see for every race fan. Also, because of so much action on the screen, the film has an essential quality: it's not boring.

FLOPS: -unbelievable storyboard facts: the father kidnapped by Ruth Wong, a frustrated chick, and destined to death if his son, Michel, dare to win the race. The same Michel, forced to race for the competing Leader team (c'mon...). Julie Wood hitting several times her car against the opponent, until the two ended with the cars in flames (at 250-300 km/h this is not a proof of minimal intelligence). More, she's not an aggressive person and in race you're focused on your job, not to smash your competitor car. Whatever... -cheesy, melodramatic sequences:Michel bearing Julie in his arms from the crash point to the pits. No one helped him? -overacting: sorry to say, but Lisa Barbuscia (who play the Ruth Wong's character) appeared to be artificial and fake.

Overall, a very good movie, worth not only a rental, but also to buy the DVD. Money well spent, great fun delivered. Good job, Frenchies!
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great race car action with a hint of suspenseful crime drama
siggy_484414 January 2007
Warning: Spoilers
My expectations for this movie were to see familiar comic book characters come to live on-screen and to include great racing scenes. I was a bit disappointed that it did not contain any formula 1 racing scenes which were the main focus in the comic series but I actually liked this movie quite a bit anyways. I watched it in french and didn't understand much of the dialog, interesting enough all of the people in the Leader team spoke English which helped me understand more of the conversations. The action sequences speak for themselves and the emotions of the characters came through clearly enough.

The story of the rivalry between the brutal Leader team and the french Vaillante team continues when the Leader's daughter takes over and seeks revenge on the Vaillants whom she blames for the misery and death of her father. Suspenseful racing action, sabotage, tragedy, love and crime drama: this movie combines it all in a fairly well-written story plot (I've seen worse).

Having read almost all the comic books when I was a child I remember the characters well and for the most part the movie does them justice although I found several inconsistencies: Ruth was transformed from a caucasion woman with short blonde hair to an oriental with long dark hair(in the comic Ruth had an assistant who looked that way - I assume the director got confused???). And what happened to Jean-Pierre's son Jean-Michel? I don't recall him having a daughter named Laura. And since this was supposed to be 13 years after the original incident with the Leader, Michel should have been married to Francoise by now and have a son named Patrick, so what was he doing with Julie Wood (who btw was the motorcycle-racing sister of Jack "Indie" Wood the young driver who replaced Steve Warson when he went MIA after finding out the truth about Ruth).

When you base a movie on a comic book series you should at least get the characters straight (can you imagine the uproar of fans if they would have changed the names of some of the characters in the Superman movies?)With Michel Vaillant they created a mishmash of story lines thrown together from different points in time (afterall the comic book series ran for several decades). In my opinion the title character of Michel was a bit over the top, almost too cocky (he never would have done such an irresponsible thing like driving with his eyes closed in the comic books - KIDS DON'T TRY THIS AT HOME!!!) The cast was well-selected otherwise and it's not the actors' fault that the director and screenwriters didn't do their homework.

Even though the movie wasn't entirely believable, at least it was not cheesy like the animated series or live action TV series. One must bear in mind that the movie IS based on a comic strip geared towards kids and therefore reflects that (I used to read some of the stories in a kids comic book collection called ZACK when I was a preteen).

Update: I have now watched the German version of this movie and was able to understand the conversations. Interesting enough the people who spoke English in the French version suddenly now all spoke German as well and the dubbing was terrible, I almost prefer the French version LOL.

Bottomline: If there ever is a sequel to this movie I sincerely hope that the people responsible will do a better job to stay true to the comic book series.
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This movie is for guys who like speed and good cars!
jtadjibaev28 April 2004
I liked that movie very much. First of all - all actresses are look like models and all actors are like from Men's Health magazine, so why don't like it?

Seriously, almost all scenes shot with macro lens, and in some point of time you feel like you are in the movie or in the driver's cabin!

Nature scenes are so beautiful and fantastically looking that only rude and not romantic persons wouldn't like it.

I don't get other's comments about dubbing and acting and all that stuff, I watched it in Russian and like it, so it's not the director's fault and responsibility to translate.

And guys, what you expect from action movie - how the actors suppose to play there? Common, it's not a drama or something you don't have to make intriguing stories and unpredictable thrillers - it's just a good looking movie, watch and relax.

I can rate it at least 8 out of 10. Cheers.
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one of the worst films i have seen in years
bandofoutsiders31 March 2004
During my teenage years I was a fan of the Michel Vaillant-comics. This was the only reason I went to see the movie. I feared the worst and my expectations were fulfilled. The only thing this movie has to offer are a few decently filmed race scenes (the ones in the mountains). Forget the lousy screenplay and other major flaws. The dubbing is what finally kills the movie. There may be a French and an international version, but the latter is a complete mess-up. French actors speaking English (with a French accent); other French actors' voices are dubbed into British English or American English (at random : they have Steve Warson's sister (Irish ?) speaking with an American accent); only Steve Warson's character has a decent British accent, simply because the actor himself is British.

How could this mess come about ? Simple, they wanted to sell the film to an international (read English-speaking) audience. Shame on you, Luc Besson, for getting involved in this disastrous film project!
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Le Grand Défi
dbdumonteil3 October 2010
Considering all the disasters when comic books are turned into movies,this one is not a complete failure .The beginning (Mrs Vaillant's nightmare) was taken from "Le 13 Est Au Départ"and all those who read the comics (Jean Graton created his character in "Tintin" in 1957)will like the Vaillant 's desirable mansion,their Moulinsart (Marlinspike) ,La Jonquière .Julie Wood appears but she is not Steve Warson's fiancée ;so does Gabrielle who is Yves 's wife (Yves who appeared very early in the series -"Route De Nuit" - is absent) in the comics .

When they made a TV miniseries (13 episodes) in the sixties,they hired a professional racing driver (Henri Grandsire ,who sadly did not resemble Michel);here we have Sagamore Stevenin (Jean -François 's son)and Diane Kruger ,whose Julie is not a motocross star but a racer too;it takes a lot of imagination to believe they belong to the racing circuits;as for poor Steve Warson ,the actor does not look like the part ,being too short,too gentle ;this character was an orphan ,which explains he was a loudmouth when he met the hero who enjoyed a big family (Michel's parents,his brother Jean Pierre and sister-in-law Agnès who have got a daughter unknown to the readers!,all of whom appear);on the other hand ,Michel is not a married man -his wife Françoise is not in the movie- and he seems in love with Julie);as an user pointed out,what a mix-up! The screenplay is just 0K,the villains are essentially girls (the Leaders' daughter) and there are two nice songs (both of them in English) over the final cast and credits;two languages are used(French and American English),which shows respect for the audience ;incidentally,most of the swearwords are in English!
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A visual feast
jennvirskus14 November 2004
Michel Vaillant is an incredible, artistic visual feast of a film. It is the sexiest film since Top Gun and it is at once shocking, surprising, heroic and humble. A perfect marriage of big Hollywood action and French artistic quality.

I am the photo editor at two major international fashion magazines and I went together with the head designer of one of them. We were on the edge our seat throughout the film, never knowing what would come next. We appreciated the sensuality of the under-lying love story. While you knew it was there, it was not focused on, there were no gratuitous sex scenes, in fact I recall only one kiss. But you knew it was there, you could feel it from the characters, in the looks, and in the intimacy of certain moments. Visually, this film is a masterpiece blending three distinct types of cinematography. The first being standard action movie at it's best. Fast cars and big explosions. The second being raw journalism, the kind of filming you'd expect if watching a car race on television and the third being incredibly artistic, turning a single moment into several minutes, or using ultra-high contrast grainy photography to convey mood and emotion. Further, the lighting and sound of the film cannot be ignored as it was superbe. The acting will not win awards, but the actors played their rolls perfectly.

They were sexy, but humble. Gentle and caring, quietly heroic. My only issue is their solution to the problem of the actor playing Steve Watson's inability to speak French. It appears they filmed him doing his lines in English and then dubbed it over in bad French. I would have been nice to have an actor who could have spoken a little better French, but it was not overly distracting to the film as a whole. And, they were sexy. They were the dream of what a race car driver should look like, act like. Not only for women, but for men too. Makes you want to go down to the track and cheer.

I cannot comment on the film's accuracy to the race world, but then again, it is a movie, adapted from a cartoon and to that end, it is phenomenal.
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Entertaining, but could be better
gerhard2822 August 2004
Warning: Spoilers
I read most of the comics of Michael Vaillant when I was a kid, and I think this movie captured the spirit of the comics. The story could be better, but it was entertaining.

However I noticed 3 things that in my opinion are errors:

*Spoiler Warning*

  • The scene with Vaillant driving around Le Mans Flat out with is eyes closed... Was that really necessary? I think nobody have done it and nobody will because it's impossible.

  • The scene Vaillant and Warson refuel their racing cars in a regular fuel pump, I might be wrong, But the fuel used in racing cars is a lot different from the one we refuel our cars.

  • The final scene with the Leader car in the final lap in the straight blowing is engine, why is the smoke coming out in the front of the car when the engine is at the back?

*End Spoiler Warning*

If you are a racing fan you should see this movie, don't think much about the storyline and focus on some nice images of cars.

For non racing fans, I doubt they enjoy this movie.
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Bits and pieces from the comics moulded into one movie... (Spoilers!!!)
Kris_Dielis22 November 2003
Warning: Spoilers
I've seen this movie just a couple of days ago, and I must say that I have mixed feelings about his movie.

I'm a huge fan of the Michel Vaillant comics, ever since I was still a kid. In fact, I think that Michel Vaillant is partially responsible for the fact that I'm a complete car nut.

However, the movie has disappointed me with the fact that they have taken various elements from different comic stories, and put them together in one new story. For example, the dream sequence in the beginning of the movie is taken from the comic 'Number 13 on the starting line', the trick of blocking the doors of Cramer's rally car at the rally checkpoint is taken from 'The cursed Safari'.

Another thing that bothered me was the sequence in wich Michel laps Le Mans with his eyes closed to impress Julie Wood. The real Michel Vaillant would never show of like that.

One last thing: the Le Mans 24 hours feels like a sprint race in this movie. I really didn't had the impression that it lasted 24 hours.

All in all, this movie wasn't perfect, not by a longshot, but it was entertaining. And isn't that the intention with a movie?
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Disappointed, too much too...business
Jeliosjelios2 November 2010
An action movie formatted to market requirements.

Rare are the successful adaptations in this period and even more rare and interesting films on the motor sport. Here's another example ... very disappointing.

The dramatization is dramatic and predictable. The action is very exaggerated and grotesque compared to the mind of the comics.

On the technical side of the film is doing very well and creates its own identity. But despite some nice pictures, they are nevertheless far too artificial and the blue tone is annoying.

Efforts are inconsistent: as shown by Valliant Rally cars, which are cars with a famous French manufacturer with three stickers and veryfew modifications compared to the shooting of the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the establishment and listing of official teams for the shooting.

Although the brands through sponsorship are omnipresent in motor sport, here are the brand placements are too much compared to the plot, so that we seem to attend a series of commercials.

Besides the character of Cramer (the leader driver) starring Francis Levantal, the characters are too caricatured and despite the presence of Diane Kruger.

For the motor sport amateurs and the more knowledgeable is always nice to see the screen elements of motor sports, such as circuits with" Magny-Cours"," Le Mans" or the "le Mas du clos" where the training is pleasant.

A movie formatted, the law of the market here is what inspires this film.

What a shame! , especially for the lovers of motor sport and Michel Vaillant.

For the amateur I take this opportunity to note that although we are very far from the means used for the Michel Vaillant by Europa, the mini-series of 13 episodes filmed during the sixties "Michel Vaillant" is a true gem, with Filming also directly on official tests and races, this series is very very good by his spirit, his fidelity to the original and its authenticity.

You can find it full in DVD box set (series directed by Charles Bretoneiche and Nicole Rich; scenario: Nicole Rich scenarios and Madeleine Wagon; with Henri Grandsire, Mony Dalmas, Yves Brainville Alain Leguellec, Claudine Coaster, Bernard Dhers, ... LCJ Editions & Editions productions and INA)


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