Angela was 8 years old when the first McDonald's opened in East Berlin - Since then, she has been fighting against the curse of her generation: to be born "too late" at a time of global ...
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Angela was 8 years old when the first McDonald's opened in East Berlin - Since then, she has been fighting against the curse of her generation: to be born "too late" at a time of global political depression. Coming from a family of activists, her sister chose the world of business and her mother abandoned overnight her political struggle to move alone to the countryside.Written by
Hugo Van Herpe
Sticking to one's values or living with the times?
With this bittersweet, somewhat disillusioned chronicle of our « modern » times and how hard it is to maintain left-wing ideas in a world turned ultra-liberal, Judith Davis provides evidence that she is not only a lively young actress but a (very) talented writer-director as well.
Which you realize as of the introductory sequence of « Whatever Happened to My Revolution » . Indeed, Davis wastes no time on preambles: to set the tone, both cheeky and raging, it takes her just two or three brief shots and a few biting lines. In the said scenes, Angèle, the heroine (embodied by Judith Davis herself) is seen face to her two employers. The latter are in the process of informing her of her dismissal, thinking that by dint of lame excuses and dubious humour, they will easily get rid of her. Little do they know the young lady: she is indeed is not the type to lay low. Instead she puts her tormentors in their place - and with powerful irony: rather Katharine Hepbun-like the damsel in distress!
This early introduction of the heroine, both strong and sharp-tongued, is good news, the promise of a film anything but listless. Promise kept, without undue aggressiveness moreover since Angèle is also a person with ideas to defend. In other words, a pure heart, but always ready to use fangs and claws! Which means that, whether you are right-wing or left-wing, you will follow with pleasure a character who, believing in something, bravely sticks to her ideas despite going against the flow. In a quixotic way some would say, who, in tune with the standards of our age and day, hold this truth to be self-evident that... defending an ideal of justice today is foolish. Foolish? Maybe so but if you think twice, which is the most admired nowadays, Quixote or... the windmills? Whatever the case may be, Angèle never lets go. To her, what is just is just and the rest is a bunch of hot air. And what if her parents, who instilled in her the ideals of the Revolution of 1968, have given them up! And what if so many ex-68ers have turned cynically opportunistic, shamelessly betraying what they once advocated. Angèle, as for her, does what she preaches. Which of course is not without hot debates or fiery spats with her interlocutors. But on the other hand... with laughter among the audience.
Not content to play this assertive character with the energy required (a performance facilitated by the assistance in the actors' direction of fellow performer Claire Dumas), Judith Davis proves at ease in all the departments of the undertaking. First as a writer: with all its funny lines, her skillful adaptation (with Cécile Varghaftig) of the collective play « L'Avantage du doute » deftly avoids the trap of filmed theater. Indeed, despite this being her first film as a director, Davis manages to give it fluidity and unity while being able to make the characters evolve convincingly.
An excellent actress herself, Judith gets excellent performances from the whole cast, particularly from Malik Zidi, charming as an atypical school principal, a sort of whimsical playwright and poet and Claire Dumas, lively and funny, especially good in the scene of the happening outside the Pôle Emploi agency. Let's not forget Mireille Perrier, more sensitive as ever as the mother or Nadir Legrand, as effective in the register of coolness as of frenzy.
Notable also for the mastery of its rhythm (lively, almost hectic, at the beginning, in osmosis with Angèle's anger, only to slow down and become more meditative, « Whatever happened to my Revolution » is a true cinematic experience, not filmed theater. Not to be missed.
What is left of the revolution (literal translation of the original title) ? Nothing perhaps except this piece of generational observation which will become in two or three decades time a precious document on our world today.
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