Sunday, February 10, 2008

112 - Back to the D.R.

I'm off on a two-day research trip to the Dominican Republic, I'll be back late Tuesday afternoon.

I'm just happy to get out of this cold!

This is my third time in both the D.R. and the Caribbean (I've never done the Caribbean Island vacation thing...).

It'll also be my 112th foreign trip.. If you consider, as I do, the D.R. to be part of Latin America, it'd be my 66th Latin trip.

Denis Day! The Denis LeRue Festival du Film Begins.....

As promissed, today we launch our Denis LeRue film festival - an ongoing parade featuring all of my Parisian pal's all-time favorite French films. We begin with the classic 1971 French comedy 'La Folie des Grandeurs / Delusions of Grandeur,' reviewed below.

1. Four Words That Encapsule: 'The Two Medieval Stooges'

2. Haiku (5/7/5):
'Master and servant
One's a fop, the other, dumb,
who's the bigger fool?'

'Folie' eatures Louis de Funes, classic comedien of the 60s and 70s - he is a household word in France, but known here only for 1974's 'The Mad Adventures of Rabbi Jacob..'

de Funes plays characters that are amoral, fussy, vain, and cartoonish. 'Folie' is typical de Funes
- broad farce, lots of slapstick, chaos, mayhem, and dumb gags.

It takes place in Medieval Spain, with de Funes as a pedantic tax collector who falls out of favor with the King.

He plans his revenge - having his dim-witted valet, played by Yves Montand, seduce the Queen. But first he must pass off Montand as his swashbuckling nephew, after shipping his real nephew to Berberland as a slave in a ridiculous gig.
All of this, filmed in glorious early-70s color.

The set pieces are terrific, and the dusty landscapes and delightfully cheesy music are not only worthy of Sergio Leone but actively parodying him.

The plot is unlikely, the situations, outrageous, the dialogue, farcical - a buddy movie with the churl and the buffoon - this formula produced hit after hit in France for director Gerard Oury and his star, de Funes, in the 60s and 70s. Box-office smashes, not always critical favorites. The French, mid-century Adam Sandler? : - )

This brief 'Folie Grandeurs' clip, though in French, is mostly physical comedy...

Denis also recommended the following recent French song/video, Emilie Simon's Fleur de Saison.
Simon, interestingly, wrote a very avant-garde soundtrack to March of the Penguins in France, but this was replaced in its US release by a more traditional Alex Wurman soundtrack. Here's the clip for 'Fleur de Saison' (Seasonal Flower?)'

Cartoon du Jour:

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