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Reviews Of French Slavery/Time Travel Comedy "Case Départ" Are In! The Verdict?

by Tambay A. Obenson
July 8, 2011 6:11 AM
8 Comments
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Case Départ opened in France on Wednesday this week, and the French film press have started posting their reviews online; naturally, it's all written in French, a language I don't speak nor read fluently, so the translations below are courtesy of Google, which further means that there very well could be some sentiments that are indeed lost in translation.

At the moment, thanks to French movie aggregator site, Allocine, of the 16 critics who've reviewed the film thus far, 9 of them give it a positive rating. It's average rating is 3 out of 5 stars.

First, one of the good, from Nathalie Dassa who writes for L'Ecran Fantastique; she gave it 4 out of 5 stars: "Using comedy... Eboue and Ngijol avoid falling into the pitfall of clumsy French tall stories, and are able to shape their conversations so as to reach general audiences without forgetting to always advance the story. They thus manage to give some depth to the narrative in its most dramatic."

And one of the bad from Jeremiah Couston at Telerama who gives it 2 out of 5 stars: "On paper, it holds up. On screen, the comedy aligns anachronistic gags and clumsy dialogue without any concern for speed or direction..."

None of the reviews I read were all that powerful, nor analytical, whether positive or negative; none seems to address many of the concerns several of you folks had about the film's content. Although, as I said, I'm not a French speaker, so the translations I got from Google may not have been entirely accurate, meaning I missed something (or somethings).

You French speakers out there can be my guest and translate a few of the reviews for the rest of us, so that we can get some idea of how the film is being received over there. You can head over to Allocine to read them all HERE.

I should note that Allocine also lists general audience ratings of films; and for this one, the average audience rating is almost 4 out of 5 stars, so the audiences liked it better (although not by much) than the critics.

No word on whether it'll travel west; although, as I noted in previous posts, there was some talk of a potential stateside remake.

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8 Comments

  • tanya | July 8, 2011 9:43 AMReply

    French black people are angry about this movie !! (there is not translate yet) look :


    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=woC6BXZX7Go&feature=related

  • JMac | July 8, 2011 9:32 AMReply

    Darn - it doesn't work. Just have to google the two names.

  • JMac | July 8, 2011 9:29 AMReply

    Thanks Sandra. Maybe they'll be a bootleg copy of Case Depart on you tube.

    Looked up Code Noir and Eriq Ebouaney and got this page. Don't know if this link will work. The picture itself is pretty disturbing.

    http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=44550820195

  • eloise | July 8, 2011 9:21 AMReply

    this movie is an insult !!

  • eshowoman, the cranky film fan | July 8, 2011 9:21 AMReply

    "..... are able to shape their conversations so as to reach general audiences without forgetting to always advance the story"

    That sounds like they were funny buffoons who did not make the average white audience member feel bad about slavery.

  • sandra | July 8, 2011 9:01 AMReply

    I give up. Not sure why the last part of the address cuts off.

  • sandra | July 8, 2011 9:00 AMReply

    Oops. Let's try that link again...Apparaently this film has been in the works since 2004, but just found a producer (from Iran) in 2009. Filming should take place in Cuba.

    Hope it works.
    http://www.myspace.com/mabic/photos/24947340#{"ImageId":24947340}

  • sandra | July 8, 2011 8:51 AMReply

    @Tambay
    I translated the synopsis below. The story sounds dreadful.

    -------------------------------------
    Half-brothers Joel and Regis have nothing in common other than the father they barely knew. Joel, who is collecting unemployment benefits, isn’t exactly sharp. According to him, France “is a racist country” and the cause of all of his failures and being black is the permanent excuse he’s found to not look for work or pay for his bus ticket.

    Regis, on the other hand, is completed integrated. So much so that he renounces his half black side completely and doesn’t encourage discussion about his roots. Immigration and delinquency are one and the same as he sees it. Called to their dying father’s bedside in the Antilles, they are given as inheritance, the certificate of freedom that freed their slave ancestors, a document that is transferred from one generation to the next. Giving no thought to the document’s symbolic worth, they tear it up. Determined to punish them for the act they have just committed, a mysterious old aunt, who had been observing them since their arrival in the Antilles, decides to send them back in time, all the way to the slavery era! Sent back to 1780, they will be sold on the market as slaves. The two brothers will have to band together, not only to escape the plantation but also to find a way back home, to the 21th century.

    -----------------------------------
    This appears to be one of those films that generates polar reactions. The article has over 420 comments so far. Several popping up as I type. There's a lot of discussion about whether such a topic should be approached with humor at all. Several people mention the concentration camps as another taboo subject that cannot be approached with humor.

    1) Some are calling the actors 'house negroes' and other names.
    2) Several people just want to enjoy the movie on its own and stop all the racial talk.
    3) Several comments are about unity.
    4) A LOT OF ANGRY RANTS; talking about African involvement in slavery; about discrimination - why is black suffering funny?
    5) Several messages were flagged/censured for non-compliance with the allo-cine website (whatever that means)

    Will be interesting to see how this plays out at the box-office. :-)

    I noticed that some commentors mentioned that a SERIOUS BLACK MOVIE ON SLAVERY was in the works called "Code Noir". I looked it up; it will star Eriq Ebouaney (star of Lumumba) http://www.myspace.com/mabic/photos/24947340#{"ImageId":24947340}

    Look forward to reading more about that one on this blog!

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