“Waiting for Bojangles”, dancing on the edge of the abyss

While waiting for Bojangles *

by Régis Roinsard

French film, 2:05

Asked about their memories of Olivier Bourdeaut’s bestseller published by Finitude in 2016, its readers readily evoke the humor and fantasy of the novel. However, to read it today, the text is also striking for its somber character. It is on this thread, essential spring of the story, that the film of Régis Roinsard is also located.

At a party on the Riviera in 1958, Georges seduced the wealthy guests gathered for a “Weekend of success” by his foolproof patter and his lies more sparkling than the truth. But in matters of fantasy, he comes across stronger than him in the person of Camille, whose panache is matched only by sumptuous extravagance.

→ READ. The genesis of the novel by its author, Olivier Bourdeaut

She recognizes in George the character of a painting, a Prussian horseman of whom she is “Madly in love since childhood”, a passion which nevertheless left the portrayed soldier totally indifferent. Competing absurdities with a serious laugh, Georges and Camille fall in love with each other and marry in the wake at the request of the young woman. ” to not forget “.

A fantasy with too strong effects

She has demands on her husband: he must call her a new name every day and make every moment a celebration. The birth of their son Gary in no way leads them to question this life of a chair bar where to dance on Mister bojangles sung by Nina Simone is the only routine tolerated. But Georges, who endeavors to satisfy all of Camille-Henriette-Louise’s rantings, gradually becomes aware of his beauty’s madness from which he must protect her just like their little Gary.

→ MAINTENANCE. Virginie Efira: “Life always has more imagination than us”

Adapt Waiting for Bojangles, it is to take the risk that the fantasy with literary accents of the pages seems too pressed on the screen. The film does not cut to this pitfall in its first part, where Virginie Efira and Romain Duris show themselves to the sorrow with dialogues which ring false. But the more complex her character becomes, the more the actress reveals her ease in moving from whimsical joys to the darkest fits of despair and translating Camille’s abysmal fragility.

The young Solan Machado-Graner impresses with his constant naturalness, but where the novel espoused Gary’s gaze, it was Georges who took the voice over. With Grégory Gadebois, the dubious character of “Garbage” takes on tender tones in love with the shadows, more protective than predatory. If the film tends to depart from a certain stiffness in contradiction with the light purpose of the first half, the marked effects which are more successful for Régis Roinsard in comedy (Popular) partly keep the feelings of a terribly romantic story at bay.


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