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Preview French Dramedy "30° Couleur" (Black Man Climbs Social Ladder, Suppresses African Identity, Regains It In Carnival)

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by Tambay A. Obenson
January 18, 2012 7:31 PM
8 Comments
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In the last year we've introduced you to a number of French-produced films centered around stories about people of African descent, like Case Départ, Intouchables, and most recently the Toussaint L'Ouverture feature starring Jimmy Jean-Luis

There've been others that escape me at the moment; but here's another one I discovered today titled 30° Couleur, which translates directly as 30° Color, which doesn't make any sense to me, meaning my that direct translation likely isn't accurate.

French speakers, once again, I require your assistance for a proper translation.

I searched the synopsis (also translated from French) for clues, and this is what I came up with: Patrick, a brilliant student in his native Martinique, leaves at the age of 10 to continue his studies in France. 30 years later, he becomes a renowned historian. Cut off from his family and his traditions over that period, Patrick has come to forget his roots... "a black man becomes white inside," says the translation. And I think we all know what that means. Learning that his mother is about to die, he goes back to Martinique with his only daughter, arriving right in the middle of Carnival. For the next three days, accompanied by his childhood friend, the irresistible Zamba, Patrick gets caught up in a whirlwind of madness, emotion, humor and fantastic situations; a journey punctuated by the atmosphere and colors of the carnival. Three days that will change his life.

Ok, I think I got it mostly. It's clear enough, right? 

So maybe the "30" in the title refers to the number of years he was cut off from his "roots" as the synopsis states, and the word "Color" refers to his becoming "white inside" over those 30 years, forgetting where he really comes from.

And maybe there's a general saying that summarizes all of this that escapes me at the moment, and 30° Couleur is the French equivalent.

Bah-humbug! :)

Anywho... the film is written and directed by Lucien Jean-Baptiste, who also stars in it as Patrick. He's been in the business since around 1999, although he hasn't appeared in any films or TV shows I immediately recognize (they're all local to France, so our France-based readers will likely be familiar with some of the titles; I'll spend some time going through them to see what I learn further about Monsieur Jean-Baptiste).

His current work, 30° Couleur, descibed as a comedy/drama, opens in France on March 14th of this year, courtesy of Mars Distribution, and from the looks of the trailer below, it's yet another French film I'm curious about, and would like to see more of.

Worth noting is that a similar theme runs through Case Départ - young black men seemingly forgetting their African roots, and being forced to come to terms with who they really are and where they are from.

The trailer isn't subtitled unfortunately; this is the only one I could find. So, once again, our French-speaking readers have the advantage; maybe someone can translate. Or maybe I should just get a French-speaker on the S&A payroll to handle translations like this in the future. Any takers? Email me.

Watch the trailer below; full poster follows underneath:

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8 Comments

  • La sosso | January 19, 2012 6:27 PMReply

    30 color is a program you can use if you want to make sure the colors won't go after a few washes.

    Those french black movies are generally pathetic when they pretend to film Martinique and the martinican. "Doudouism" all the way , that means sugarcoated movies filmed by black europeans who do not know or understand a god damn thing about us. So far we have only one true filmaker and that's Euzhan Palcy. Black european should be , in my opinion , busy being european and french instead of annoying us about them still being caribbean and blah blah blah. We don't need them to film us we are creative enough thank you very much.

  • Donella | January 19, 2012 5:17 PMReply

    **I'd like to see this in the theater, but might wait to the DVD comes out with English subtitles.** Looks like something I'd like to see as well. I'm really enjoying the foreign cinema offerings.

  • EP | January 19, 2012 10:26 AMReply

    Oops that site doesn't like special caracters. So a few corrections : 30° is 30 degrees Celsius. Lucien Jean-Baptiste first movie was La Premiere Etoile and that was nominated to the Cesars.

  • EP | January 19, 2012 10:21 AMReply

    30° Couleur refers to a washing-machine program.
    Couleur is the program for the colored clothes and 30°C the lowest wash temperature.

    30°C can also refer to the local temperature of Martinique whose tropical climate is far warmer than metropolitan France, a difference strongly felt by people who travel between those territories. By association of ideas around washing machine programs, one could refer to the guy who travels back to Martinique as someone who would go through a 30°C coloured clothes program.

    This is Lucien Jean-Baptiste's second film. The first one was the 2009 surprise success comedy La Première Etoile which was nominated at the Césars for best first movie in 2010. And like in La Première Etoile, it features the popular comedian Edouard Montoute.

  • Geneva Girl | January 19, 2012 8:46 AMReply

    I'd like to see this in the theater, but might wait to the DVD comes out with English subtitles. As we learned seeing Les Intouchables, humor is hard to follow in another language.

  • Cynthia | January 18, 2012 8:48 PMReply

    Got my attention!

  • jingmei | January 18, 2012 8:43 PMReply

    je crois, Couleur can be translated into color here peut-etres right stands for he's African. je parles un peu francais, mais je voudrais parler a plus. ;

  • ok | January 18, 2012 7:48 PMReply

    it looks good!
    i could make a couple of things here and there, but it looks well shot and acted.

    hope to see it one day....with translations of course! lol

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