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This is the blog of Ian Rosales Casocot. Filipino writer. Sometime academic. Former backpacker. Twink bait. Hamster lover.

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Thursday, May 21, 2020

entry arrow10:00 AM | The Film Meme No. 27

[27th of 100]. There is an extended joke at the very beginning of the movie -- which is about the assorted goings on in the production of a French film -- when a television crew visits the shoot and proceeds to individually interview the principal cast members what the movie is all about. The sound bytes that result are a scream: each actor manages to give a summary of the movie with their character as the focal point of the entire drama. It's very much like asking Gus the Mouse what Walt Disney's Cinderella is all about, and the answer you get is something like, "Well, it's about a mouse who gets lost in a big house, and soon finds himself being taken care of by this strange optimistic girl who lives in the attic, is covered in soot, and has terrible family members to attend to." That narcissism is the ties that bind the threads of this comedy classic by one of France's most celebrated filmmakers: the actors are narcissistic, but so are the rest of the denizens of this unlikely community [from the script girl down to the grip]; even the town's police chief who has given them permission to shoot on location has allowed himself access to the set like a godfather of some sort, bringing girls with him hoping they could catch the eye of some producer. The friction of all of these egos clashing together -- buttered by a genuine care for the process of making a collaborative art -- is the drama that makes this movie delicious. In my film production class, I always screen this movie to give my students an idea of what it can be like to make a film, the heartaches and painful logistics that go with it demonstrated in equal measure of parody and love letter. [What's it like to film animals? You'll get a funny demonstration here.] Watching this now and again is always enlightening. And the layers! The director is meta enough to make a film about filmmaking -- parodying it in the process, and meta enough to cast himself as the director of that film within the film. I said that the movie is a love letter to filmmaking, and it is: in the end, after the martini has been taken, and despite all the shenanigans thus far, the crew members pack up their stuff, already missing the weeks spent together in close quarters, a farewell to a creative family meeting its end, and hoping that could be reconstructed elsewhere in another job, in another set of personal dramas to battle with. What's the film?

For the introduction to this meme, read here.


[0] This is Where You Bite the Sandwich