Funny French offerings as festival comes to close


(France) 96 minutes

Nicolas Maury plays Reuben, the gay Jewish Frenchman who flees his jobs as postie in Finland.
Nicolas Maury plays Reuben, the gay Jewish Frenchman who flees his jobs as postie in Finland. 

Screening: Saturday November 10 at 2pm

Where: Dendy Cinemas

A gay Jewish Frenchman working as a postman in a pretty corner of Finland flees home to Paris with a bag of ill-gotten cash.

Reuben’s heart is broken. The lives of his parents and siblings seem to be unravelling faster than his own.

And his luggage, containing the aforementioned loot, has gone missing at the airport.

This delightfully camp farce from first-time writer-director Mikael Buch zips along at a brisk pace, as calamity piles upon disaster for poor Reuben.

Buch’s bold colours and retro pastiche production design recall the giddy charms of Baz Luhrmann’s 1992 Aussie crowd-pleaser Strictly Ballroom, with Reuben’s whimsical flights of imagination adding to the over-the-top pantomime humour.

At one point Reuben laments that his life has become “one bad Jewish joke”, with he and his loved-ones entangled in a mess of misunderstandings, saucy secrets and suffocating familial expectation.

But there’s genuine feeling under the farce as the zany antics and shrewd satire eventually give way to a pleasing gush of sentiment – and one hilariously teary police chief.

It should be noted, for the benefit those who don’t like such surprises, that the film contains a brief sequence of gay sex that could be perceived as gratuitously frank.

Yes, with it’s gay Jewish French postie in Finland, Let My People Go! is indeed quite Continental.

For something else French and funny …


(France) 77 minutes

Screening: Saturday November 10 at 4pm and Sunday November 11 at 6.30pm

Where: Dendy Cinemas

A romantic comedy about a Woody Allen-obsessed Parisian pharmacist (Alice Taglioni) who takes dating advice from a poster of the film-maker on her bedroom wall.

Variety was unimpressed, suggesting that debut writer-director Sophie Lellouche “borrows Allen's moves without displaying an ounce of his talent” and her film “might be aiming for witty and romantic, but it's mostly a hollow, rambling effort leavened with some stargazing”.

But Time Out London described it as “a fun, fluffy, but chic romantic comedy that looks so effortless”.

And Woody Allen himself evidently thinks it’s OK.