Saturday, 5 December 2009

Mon meilleur ami/ My Best Friend, Patrice Leconte, France 2006

Last night's film was Mon meilleur ami, which is French mainstream fare, but coming from France, it immediately has a leg up in the UK where all things French are often hastily - and unjustifiably - associated with 'art'. But this just goes to show that stereotypes work their magic in a time when an overload of in creasingly undifferentiated information is dumped on people who lap it up, all too glad that what's fed them is easily digestible and, thank God!, doesn't upset their worldview! Don't get me wrong: I love French cinema! But that doesn't mean that I mistake all French films for art. Coming from - most - other countries, I doubt that a film with a storyline so thin, sentimental, and predictable, as Mon meilleur ami would even find a distributor.

And so Mon meilleur ami, which stretches the credibility muscle to the limit, makes the rounds as an arthouse film when, in fact, it's a film that has something for everyone: in its pseudo-analysis of 'what makes a real friend', it gives the fifth-grader something to ponder about, it squeezes a tear out of grandma's eye, and it makes mother believe that today, she's seen a really introspective, demanding, intellectual - foreign! - film. With subitles, fo Christ's sake! But if the film's premise and storyline are what you'd expect from your ordinary run-of-the-mill Hollywood extravaganza, the film's ending is so blatantly sentimental and predictable that it makes Terms of Endearment look like a Tarkovsky-film by comparison. Hard to believe that a director with such an impressive track record as Patrice Leconte should have concocted such an insipid and sugar-coated melodrama.