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13 october 2011 - 18:44:12 spacer  
Press acclaims Les Géants
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Les Géants, Bouli Lanners’s third feature film, was released in Belgium on Wednesday... and everyone is now well aware of it! For once, the press coverage is on par with the event. There is a lot of enthusiasm around it in Belgium: almost all reviews use the warmest adjectives to describe this extraordinary, tender and funny story which was filmed in gorgeous settings. A press roundup has never been this pleasant to compile... nor has it been as hard to pick what to include out of the vast choice we had!
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In Moustique , Jérome Colin describes well what is at stake: " There is a lot of talk about Les Géants by Bouli Lanners. That is a good thing, because it’s a really beautiful film. But also because, much like Les Barons by Nabil ben Yadir two years ago, our Belgian film industry needs a big commercial success. Everyone agrees that Belgian films have great qualities, but we must admit that the public is still shunning them, preferring American blockbusters and French-style comedies. That is a mistake. Because the 7th Art we are so proud of will only be able to survive if it finds a much bigger audience.”
Bouli Lanners’s Géants received a warm welcome in several media. Maybe this will prove to be just a marginal phenomenon, a pointless reaction, but still... impossible not to enjoy it. So, let’s take a look at the magazines and papers and their websites, and be happy for Bouli, his teens, his crew... and hope the public will follow...

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“Adolescence isn’t always a fun time. Even less when living deep into the Ardennes and if our parents only are so by name.” 7 sur 7 starts their article with a simple, direct, efficient and right pitch. The entire film draws its meaning and energy from this observation.
Similar enthusiasm can be found in Le Soir , where Fabienne Bradfer launches the theory of a tale which will be at the heart of many articles : “After Ultranova and Eldorado, Bouli seems to have found his way as a film maker and makes a giant step forward in his directing approach. His tale contains the woods, abandoned huts, a river. We encounter a thick brute, a fool, a mother substitute. We get lost, we search for ourselves and we dream about all these possibilities. What is going on is both infinitely small and infinitely big. Just like life is.”

7 sur 7 mentions on the same topic that “Bouli’s tale has nothing of a fairytale. Reality is as harsh as it gets. But as if pushed by despair, the three young people will sometimes find a way to smile, even to really laugh out loud, facing their problems. We think of that expanding uncontrollable laughter on screen, which is transferred to the viewers, when they wake up with their hair dyed blonde after having spent a lively evening in a nice villa without authorisation. The laughter, the absurdity and their impertinence are the shield protecting them from the worst life dishes out to them.”

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It seems the general opinion agrees that Les Géants is a tale. Bouli doesn’t exactly make much mysteries around it and explains to Patrick Laurent in La DH : “It’s not a social film but a tale, set in an exaggerated universe far from reality. We don’t see a single car: all logistics from daily life are absent. It’s like a tale: there are three children, they’re lost, we don’t know anything about them, except that their parents aren’t around. They are the three little pigs. Angel, he’s the wolf. Bœuf is the loan shark. His wife is the witch. Marthe Keller is the fairy. Finally the movers are a bit like the hunters in Peter and the Wolf. They are fairytale archetypes. They are based on a theme which could’ve been used for a social film though. Namely: the absence or abdication of parental responsibility. However, I wanted to stick to the level of the adolescents.”
Emotion, a few shivers and many giggles : the recipe works. Helped, indeed, by a sublime photography which was rewarded in Namur and absolutely terrific work on the soundtrack (next week we will share more on this topic in an interview with Bouli). Let’s also not forget the young actors who won a collective award at the FIFF in Namur: “the three young adults playing the lead roles literally carry the film and possess a disarming natural charm,” says Jérome Colin in Moustique .


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Jean-François Pluygers is just as enthusiast in Le Vif , rewarding Les Géants with the highest score, four stars. We cannot resist quoting the closing paragraph, as it says it all and is well written. Really does give one the desire to watch. “Even if at times it still suggests a Stand By Me on Walloon soil, the film still firmly carries its author’s mark. Even more, since it is after all an aquatic work, we are not surprised by the floating character of the narrative structure which dares to flee here and there, much like Bouli Lanners’s previous work, even if insensitively, the topic seems to lean close. There is more than thematic resemblance; it is also esthetical, where the shots look like picture compositions with a knack for embellishing the natural environment, while the –haunting- music by The Bony King of Nowhere certainly adds to the film’s uncertain aspect. We are pleased to join the engaging trio of kids, for an eventful trip full of unspoken questions, the only certainty being that tomorrow should not be like before- an intoxicating perspective, almost vertigo inducing.”

Now, what is left for this adventure is finding an audience. What kind of audience? All sorts of audiences could like Les Géants: from nostalgic forty-somethings who would love to relive their adolescent escapades (in a modern setting) to younger viewers who normally only come out to see blockbusters.

Still in Moustique, Jérome Colin violently hits the nail on the head: “... Les Géants has all qualities of an author film capable of seducing a large public. This film has no reason to envy the American film industry or big French productions. The photography is just as beautiful (even more so), the characters as researched, laughter and emotion just as present. Simply put, Les Géants is a film which leaves us with a wonderful feeling of wellness. A feel good movie, in other words.”
We all want to be happy, don’t we?
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