by Albert Dupontel
French film, 1 h 27
Go out or postpone? After a waltz-hesitation of a few days, the distributor Gaumont finally decided, despite the curfew, to keep Albert Dupontel’s last comedy on view this Wednesday. And he did well. After the success ofGoodbye up there, the adaptation of the novel by Pierre Lemaitre, and its more than 2 million admissions, the filmmaker returns with Goodbye idiots to a more personal universe and treats us with one of his squeaky and joyfully desperate comedies of which he has since kept secret Bernie (1996).
→ CRITICAL. “Goodbye up there”, the excessiveness and jubilation of Albert Dupontel’s cinema
Less consensual and flamboyant than the previous one, the film is a concentrate of all its obsessions – from the need for filial love to the inadequacy to the injunctions of a dehumanizing society – but taken here a notch always further. Both in the form of which the poetic urban universe owes much to Brazil of Terry Gilliam to whom he pays a strong tribute (he also makes an appearance in the film), than in the background where the darkness of the subject disputes him with the emotion carried by a moving Virginie Efira.
An unlikely duo reunited for better or for worse
As often with Albert Dupontel, it is about an improbable duo that chance will take care of bringing together for better or for worse. On the one hand, Suze Trappet (Virginie Efira), a hairdresser condemned by the excessive use of hairspray, which has been abundantly dispensed for twenty years on the hair of her clients. Since knowing she has an incurable disease, the young woman has been determined to use the little time left to live to find the child she was forced to abandon at the age of 15. On the other, Jean-Baptiste Cuchas (Albert Dupontel), a model civil servant, meticulous to the point of obsession, in charge of the computer security of an administration, and determined to put an end to it, after being unfairly ousted from the post that ‘he was coveted by a younger than himself.
The failed suicide of one in the office adjoining the one where the other came to claim the file of her childbirth under X will reunite these two skinned in need of love and launch them in a mad chase against time and law to find the identity of the child. They will be helped in this quest by a blind archivist (Nicolas Marié), terrified of the police to whom he owes his handicap, and a senile obstetrician (Jackie Berroyer) whose resuscitated humanity will allow them to remove the last obstacles to their research.
We laugh a lot but we laugh yellow
“I started from the idea of opposing someone who wants to live but who cannot, to someone who could live but who does not want”, explains the director. In the structure of the story and its way of marrying opposites, we obviously think of 9 months firm (2012), which brought together a judge and a thug around an unwanted pregnancy. Except that behind the absurd, here pushed to its paroxysm, this time pierces melancholy and despair. We laugh a lot in Goodbye idiots but we often laugh yellow in front of this headlong rush, which drives the two protagonists towards an inescapable destiny.
Albert Dupontel’s gaze is always so sharp when he maliciously attacks police violence, the coldness of the administration, youthism or obsession with technology and security, providing at the same time to his favorite actors. (Michel Vuillermoz, Laurent Stocker, Bouli Lanners, Philippe Uchan…) the pretext for a few pieces of bravery in bespoke supporting roles.
But his scathing humor and his misanthropy are counterbalanced here by the infinite tenderness he has for his two heroes battered by life. Facing the actor and director, impeccable in the skin of the misunderstood genius belatedly upset by love, Virginie Efira, all in contained emotions, keeps us permanently on the verge of tears. And adds to this chilling tragicomedy a supplement of humanity.