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Welcome to the Sticks (2008)

  • Rate: 7.0/10 total 11,857 votes 
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release Date: 27 February 2008 (Belgium)
  • Runtime: 106 min
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Welcome to the Sticks (2008)

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  • IMDb page: Welcome to the Sticks (2008)
  • Rate: 7.0/10 total 11,857 votes 
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release Date: 27 February 2008 (Belgium)
  • Runtime: 106 min
  • Filming Location: Autoroute A7, France
  • Budget: €11,000,000(estimated)
  • Gross: €1,524,982(Belgium)(9 March 2008)
  • Director: Dany Boon
  • Stars: Kad Merad, Dany Boon and Zoé Félix
  • Original Music By: Philippe Rombi   
  • Soundtrack: Le plat pays
  • Sound Mix: DTS | Dolby Digital
  • Plot Keyword: Bergues | Prejudice | Dialect | Post Office | Post

Writing Credits By:

    (in alphabetical order)

  • Dany Boon  writer
  • Alexandre Charlot  writer
  • Franck Magnier  writer

Known Trivia

  • With 25.5 million euros, it holds the record for the highest first-week intake of a French movie in its home country. Former record holder was Les bronz├ęs 3: amis pour la vie.
  • With 20.2 million viewers, it is the most successful French film in France. Former distinction holder was Don’t Look Now: We’re Being Shot At.
  • Instead of using well known dialects for the German dubbed version, the dubbing studio created a completely new fictional dialect with as much similarity to the original French ch’ti dialect as possible.

Plot: Although living a comfortable life in Salon-de-Provence, a charming town in the South of France, Julie has been feeling depressed for a while… See more »  »

Story: Although living a comfortable life in Salon-de-Provence, a charming town in the South of France, Julie has been feeling depressed for a while. To please her, Philippe Abrams, a post office administrator, her husband, tries to obtain a transfer to a seaside town, on the French Riviera, at any cost. The trouble is that he is caught red-handed while trying to scam an inspector. Philippe is immediately banished to the distant unheard of town of Bergues, in the Far North of France. Leaving his child and wife behind, the crucified man leaves for his frightening destination, a dreadfully cold place inhabited by hard-drinking, unemployed rednecks, speaking an incomprehensible dialect called Ch'ti. Philippe soon realizes that all these ideas were nothing but prejudices and that Bergues is not synonymous with hell…Written by Guy Bellinger  

Synopsis

Synopsis: Philippe and Julie Abrams are a married couple with a young child who live in a small town in the South-East of France. Philippe works as an executive for the national post services and tries to be transferred to a different location on the sea side, thinking that Julie, who is depressed, will be happier and that their relationship will improve. Unfortunately, despite pulling some strings, he learns that other disabled candidates have priority in their choice of location and decides to pretend he is on a wheelchair to make sure he obtains a job on the French Riviera. As he gets caught by an inspector, the HR manager tells him that he is sent to the small town of Bergues in the Far North of France, to work as the director of the post office, as disciplinary action for his failed attempt of fraud. Other than being fired, he has no choice but going and Julie, very disappointed at him, refuses to join him, so they accept to live apart for the next 2 years. Both Julie and Philippe are very biased against the North of France and Julie’s senile great-uncle, reminiscing his childhood in the North during the coal-mining era of the 1930s, portrays the North as a freezing region, even during the summer, where people speak with an incomprehensible accent and all die young.

Philippe leaves the South so reluctantly that he gets caught for slow driving on the motorway. His first 24 hours in the North makes it look like his bias is true. It starts bucketing down as soon as he comes across the sign of welcome to the region, and when he meets Antoine, the postman and carillon player of the town, he can hardly understand anything he says. As Antoine accepts to invite him over for the night, knowing that he lives with his mother although in his mid-thirties, and after seeing photos of him dressed as a woman at a carnival, Philippe thinks that Antoine is gay. Very stressed out and paranoid that he might flirt with him, Philippe decides to block the door to his room with a chair. The morning after, when Philippe meets Antoine’s mother, she comes across very bossy, intrusive and cold and clearly treats Antoine like a 6-year-old. Having a taste of the local cheese (Maroilles), he clearly is not impressed. When it’s time to go to the post office, Philippe is so depressed about being there that he gets offended by a mild tease from Antoine, and talks very coldly to his other employees, Fabrice, Yann and Annabelle and even corrects their pronunciation of certain words. However, they appear understanding and invite him for some lunch at the chips van. Philippe starts to open up to them until Antoine comes back from delivering mail, looking intoxicated and unintentionally talking to Philippe with disrespect which embarasses his colleagues especially Annabelle. Philippe wants to sanction him until Antoine, Yann and Fabrice bring a van full of furniture to give Philippe for his flat. Philippe is then very grateful and decides to invite them all for a restaurant dinner in Lille. He is then completely won over by the region and the friendly and welcoming locals, learns all the essential local expressions, including bad words, and when Julie calls, he first tells her that he is all right. He tells her that the region, though not sunny, is not all that cold and that he has been welcome by the northerners. However Julie is sure that he is just saying it to reassure her and asks him not to overprotect her. Philippe then states that he is going through hell and that he cannot wait to see her again down South. Julie feels guilty that Philippe’s transfer to the North is her fault, given that she pressured him so much into finding a job on the coast that he felt the need to cheat on his application, thus taking a massive risk. While enjoying working in the North, Philippe lies to his whole family and southerner friends, telling them that the region is peopled with alcoholics, that there are epidemics, that the days are very short etc. It worries Julie who starts acting more caring towards her husband than she used to. Philippe thinks that the distance is actually positive for his relationship with his wife, so doesn’t tell her the truth.

Meanwhile in the North, it was obvious from the start that Antoine is in love with the lovely Annabelle, but she has another boyfriend who is the stereotype of the biker with attitude. As Antoine once again comes back drunk from delivering mail, he witnesses him being abusive towards Annabelle. When he tries to interfere, Annabelle’s boyfriend taunts him and Antoine decides to smash his motorbike, which causes a fight that Philippe, Fabrice and Yann try to stop, but Antoine punches Philippe by accident. Given that it is not the first time that Antoine comes back drunk during service and it has come to a point where he has had a fight in front of the post office in his uniform, Philippe considers severe disciplinary action. Annabelle explains to Philippe that Antoine doesn’t dare to say no to people who offer him a drink when he delivers mail. Philippe is not satisfied. Thinking that the problem lies much deeper, he tries to discover more about his private life by saying that he knows that Antoine loves her. Annabelle reveals that she dated him for a year and was happy with him but his passiveness towards his intrusive mum strained their relationship and caused them to split up. Although Philippe thinks it is not his job, he decides to visit Antoine at the carillon and have a chat about it. He reveals to Antoine that he is in a similar position, as he lies to his wife about being happy up North. Acting as the director, he tells Antoine that he really has to stop drinking during service hours. Acting then as a friend, he encourages him to stand up to his mum, wondering if the issues in his private life are not the actual cause for his drinking. One morning, Philippe decides to join Antoine to deliver mail in order to show him how to say no while staying friendly. Funnily enough, Philippe discovers that he can’t himself turn down a drink with the friendly locals and even though Antoine is willing to resist to start with, both of them decide to celebrate their friendship, end up quite intoxicated, and when trying to race Antoine on their bicycles, Philippe skips a stop sign, is followed by the police and arrested when he has an accident. Philippe calls Julie from the police station and tells her that because he has been arrested, he can’t drive back home before the day after. Julie gets very worried at the idea that her husband might have become an alcoholic. When he visits her back South, Julie decides to pack her suitcase and join him, which puts Philippe in a very awkward position, having told her all along that he was going through hell. As they have an accident on the motorway, he takes the train up North and asks Julie to deal with the paperwork back home and take a later train. When Philippe arrives at the post office, he announces the bad news to his employees. He tells them what he said to his wife about them and the region, which has little flattering. The four Northerners are mad at him at first but when Julie arrives at the Lille station, they turn up in a big van talking loudly and rudely and emptying countless cans of beer, just as the Northerners are traditionally portrayed as, trying to help Philippe put Julie off and persuade her to go back home. They pull up at an old mining area that they make her believe is Bergues and use an empty slum that they make her believe Philippe lives in. The 4 post office employees and several other locals have staged a whole scenario in the old mine pretending the mine is still open, organised a scary dinner outdoors, and make Julie believe that they are eating cat meat. Philippe tells Julie that she can’t stay but Julie refuses to leave him and feels it is her duty to stay and support him in his ordeal. Philippe is obviously embarrassed that she wants to stay in that old mine, realises that she loves him and Antoine prompts him to tell her the truth. He even calls Philippe a coward when he says that he won’t; therefore, Philippe has a golden opportunity to tell Antoine that he should be the last person to call anyone a coward as he is clearly one himself when it comes to his mother. Antoine has a rude awakening and decides once and for all to announce his mother that he is going to leave home to live with Annabelle. Surprisingly, his mother reacts well. Soon enough, Julie finds out herself that it was all staged and discovers that the old mine has nothing to do with Bergues. Annabelle has to explain her everything as Julie finds the real post office where they work. Upset at her husband’s lies, Julie decides to go back home and Philippe asks her to think carefully. Antoine’s mother turns up at the post office, where Annabelle greets her just as politely as she can, announces her that Antoine has left home, congratulates her and sends her wishes of happiness with him. Annabelle is obviously taken by surprise. Antoine has only one more thing to do: propose to her. With Philippe’s encouragements, he displays a proposal message on a bed sheet on top of the carillon in the middle of the night. An emotional Annabelle accepts and points out she has been waiting for that moment for a long time. Back South, Philippe makes a parallel proposal to ask Julie to move back in with him up North. Julie accepts and moves along with her son, and they are invited to Antoine and Annabelle’s wedding. However after 3 years, Philippe receives a letter from the HR sending him back to work in a French seaside location. Even though it was what they initially wished for, he and his family leave the North with regrets. He cries when he leaves just as when he arrived, as Antoine expected he would. Several locals are there to wave goodbye and Antoine and Annabelle, with her baby bump, promise to visit them on holiday.

 

FullCast & Crew

Produced By:

  • Claude Berri known as producer
  • Eric Hubert known as executive producer
  • Jérôme Seydoux known as producer

FullCast & Crew:

  • Kad Merad known as Philippe Abrams
  • Dany Boon known as Antoine Bailleul
  • Zoé Félix known as Julie Abrams
  • Lorenzo Ausilia-Foret known as Raphaël Abrams
  • Anne Marivin known as Annabelle Deconninck
  • Philippe Duquesne known as Fabrice Canoli
  • Guy Lecluyse known as Yann Vandernoout
  • Line Renaud known as La maman d'Antoine
  • Michel Galabru known as Le grand oncle de Julie
  • Stéphane Freiss known as Jean Sabrier
  • Patrick Bosso known as Le gendarme A7
  • Jérôme Commandeur known as L'inspecteur Lebic
  • Alexandre Carrière known as Tony – l'amoureux d'Isabelle
  • Fred Personne known as M. Vasseur
  • Frank Andrieux known as M. Leborgne (as Franck Andrieux)
  • Jean-Christophe Herbeth known as M. Mahieux
  • Jean-François Picotin known as M. Tizaute
  • Jenny Clève known as La mamie 'Quinquin'
  • Claude Talpaert known as Le papi 'Quinquin'
  • Sylviane Goudal known as Une cliente de la poste
  • Yaël Boon known as La cliente en colère de la poste
  • Christophe Rossignon known as Le serveur de la brasserie
  • Zinedine Soualem known as Momo
  • Maryline Delbarre known as Martine de Momo
  • Guillaume Morand known as L'ancien collègue de Philippe
  • Yann Königsberg known as Le collègue de Jean – salon #2
  • Nadège Beausson-Diagne known as L'employée de Bureau à Salon
  • Jean-François Elberg known as L'employé de la station service
  • Eric Bleuzé known as L'homme à la mobylette
  • Bruno Tuchszer known as Le policier à Bergues #1
  • Mickaël Angele known as Le patron du bar de la cité minière
  • Patrick Cohen known as Le client viré
  • Louisette Douchin known as La dame des moules
  • Jean-Marc Vauthier known as Le mineur #1
  • Cédric Magyari known as Le mineur #2
  • Théo Behague known as Un copain des corons
  • Mathieu Sophys known as Un copain des corons
  • Laëtitia Maisonhaute known as La secrétaire de Jean
  • Suzie Pilloux known as La femme chez l'oncle de Julie (as Suzy Pillou)
  • Harmonie-Batterie Municipale de Bergues known as Themselves

..

 

Supporting Department

Makeup Department:
  • Lucie Deblayé known as assistant makeup artist
  • Juliette Martin known as key hair stylist

Art Department:

  • Daniel Cadet known as locksmith
  • Franck Gies known as carpenter
  • Benoit Godde known as graphic designer
  • Thierry Gratien known as key carpenter (as Thierry Gatien)
  • Thomas Lechevallier known as second assistant art director (2007)
  • Antonio Nogueira known as carpenter
  • Guillaume Watrinet known as property master
  • Eric Pech known as assistant art director (uncredited)
  • Maryse Witte known as prop assistant (uncredited)

..

 

Company

Production Companies:

  • Pathé Renn Productions
  • Hirsch (co-production)
  • Les Productions du Chicon (co-production)
  • TF1 Films Production (co-production)
  • Canal+ (participation)
  • Centre National de la Cinématographie (CNC) (participation)
  • Centre Régional des Ressources Audiovisuelles (CRRAV) (CRRAV du Nord-Pas-de-Calais)
  • CinéCinéma (participation)
  • Région Nord-Pas-de-Calais (participation)

Other Companies:

  • Aerial Camera Systems  helicopter gyrostabilized camera system
  • Automobiles Peugeot  thanks
  • Cine Cascade  stunts vehicles supplied by
  • Moteur!  publicity

Distributors:

  • Pathé (2008) (worldwide) (theatrical)
  • Alternative Films (2008) (Belgium) (theatrical)
  • Pathé (2008) (France) (theatrical)
  • Pathe (2008) (Switzerland) (theatrical)
  • Pathé Distribution (2008) (UK) (theatrical)
  • Audio Visual Enterprises (2009) (Greece) (theatrical)
  • CLMC Multimedia (2008) (Portugal) (theatrical)
  • Camera Film (2009) (Denmark) (theatrical)
  • Cathay-Keris Films (2008) (Singapore) (theatrical)
  • Distribution Company (2009) (Argentina) (theatrical)
  • Eden Cinema (2007) (Israel) (theatrical)
  • Link Productions Ltd. (2008) (Canada) (theatrical)
  • Paradiso Entertainment (2008) (Netherlands) (theatrical)
  • Prokino Filmverleih (2008) (Germany) (theatrical)
  • Eén (2010) (Belgium) (TV)
  • Imagem Filmes (2010) (Brazil) (all media)
  • Paradiso Home Entertainment (2008) (Netherlands) (DVD) (rental)
  • Paradiso Home Entertainment (2009) (Netherlands) (DVD) (retail)
  • Prokino Filmverleih (2010) (Germany) (DVD)

..

 

Other Stuff

Special Effects:

  • Duboi (titles and digital visual effects)
  • L'Etude et la Supervision des Trucages (L'E.S.T.) (visual effects)
  • Les Versaillais

Visual Effects by:

  • Audrey Kleinclaus known as visual effects coordinator: L'EST
  • Marc Latil known as digital artist
  • Frederic Moreau known as visual effects designer
  • Sarah Moreau known as visual effects coordinator
  • Fred Roz known as titles

Release Date:

  • France 17 January 2008 (Festival International du Film de Comédie de L'Alpe d'Huez)
  • Germany 8 February 2008 (European Film Market)
  • France 20 February 2008 (Nord-Pas de Calais) (limited)
  • Belgium 27 February 2008
  • France 27 February 2008
  • Switzerland 27 February 2008 (French speaking region)
  • USA April 2008 (City of Lights, City of Angels)
  • UK 4 April 2008
  • Switzerland 8 May 2008 (German speaking region)
  • Poland 6 June 2008
  • Canada 25 July 2008 (French speaking region)
  • Netherlands 11 September 2008
  • Portugal 18 September 2008
  • Singapore 9 October 2008
  • Germany 30 October 2008
  • Italy 31 October 2008
  • Austria 7 November 2008
  • Indonesia 5 December 2008 (Jakarta International Film Festival)
  • Spain 9 January 2009
  • Canada 23 January 2009 (Vancouver)
  • New Zealand 12 February 2009
  • Israel 19 February 2009
  • Argentina 14 March 2009 (Pantalla Pinamar Festival)
  • Greece 2 April 2009 (Festival du Film Francophone)
  • Hungary 15 April 2009 (French Film Days)
  • Greece 16 April 2009
  • Hungary 30 April 2009
  • Denmark 12 June 2009
  • Norway 3 July 2009
  • Argentina 15 October 2009
  • Brazil 9 April 2010

..

 
 

Filmography links and data courtesy of The Internet Movie Database


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Posted on March 30, 2012 by Harry in Movies | Tags: , .

10 Comments

  1. Eric Petit from United States
    30 Mar 2012, 8:29 pm

    Of course it's not a deep film, but nor is it pretentious. It mightalso not please everyone – if you don't want to have a good laugh, orif your French is challenged, you could find it dull. But truelaugh-out-loud comedies that feel genuine and refreshing (like thisone) instead of grotesque and vulgar are few and far in between.Moreover, and even more rare, the whole audience – me included – seemedto be howling in laughter, not just three people making a lot of noise.

    While the pun is largely based on the local "ch'ti" dialect, it is notlimited to it and humour works throughout, well timed and mastered bythe actors. The dialect itself was ably used, and the audience areintroduced to it nicely. Boon is wonderful, both touching and funny,and Kad Merad delivers a nice performance. More than the dialect or theactors, the region itself and its people are beautifully pictured, andthe spirit is well captured. Clichés are used for comedic purpose, andare dispelled instead of being woven. Amateurs will also find anincredible short appearance by Michel Galabru (my favourite part of thefilm). The film never aims to be realistic, and never seemspretentious, but the feel of Northern France is genuine.

    In the end, it is a truly pleasing film: funny, true to itself, freshand nicely French (but not the part you are most used to seeing) iswhat you should expect.

  2. Jeanette Renman from Umeå, Sweden
    30 Mar 2012, 8:29 pm

    I saw this movie in Lille, France, two weeks after the premiere, andthe movie theaters were full. Everyone wanted to see it. (After twoweeks, 15 million viewers. That's a lot.) Even though they sometimesspoke Ch'ti it was quite easy to understand, and many parts would havebeen funny in any language. I really recommend everyone to see it, nomatter if you speak French or not. Many of the jokes with words (jeu demots) are only comprehensible if you speak French, but it's stillgreat. The point with the movie isn't just the language, another aspectis the prejudices the Southerns have about the Northerns. Which can befound in many more countries than France. I really think that it's amovie everyone can find something to like about. Maybe the Frenchover-hyped it, but it's still a superb movie.

  3. Art Ilano from Manila, Philippines
    30 Mar 2012, 8:29 pm

    A really, really charming film. Charming being the word for movies withreally simple plots, very down-to-earth stakes, and the ability toleave you with a big G-rated smile on your face afterwards. If you likecross-cultural fish-out-of-water movies such as My Big, Fat GreekWedding, you're going to love this story of a postmaster who getsreassigned to the apparently misunderstood (in many senses) northernregion of France, and how lives change accordingly.

    But what really impressed me the most were the subtitles. The Englishsubtitles amazingly captured all the nuances of the convoluted wordplaythat was obviously happening on screen. This becomes an even moreimpressive feat when you consider that much of the verbal fun of themovie comes from the various misunderstandings between theFrench-speaking lead character and the folks who speak in the northernprovincial "Schticks" dialect. Because of this added layer ofcomplexity, I realized that capturing these dynamics cannot be theproduct of any ordinary clerical translation job.

    And it turns out I was right. I later read that the director, DanyBoon, actually took an active role in ensuring that all the subtitlesfor the different languages properly and lovingly reflected the nuancesand intent of the on screen banter. With truly impressive results.

    So kudos to Boon for paying attention to this particular detail.Oftentimes, foreign audiences miss out on much of the seeming in-jokesthat movies play for their local audiences. "Schticks" made it a pointto share its world with everyone else. Great job.

  4. Nicholas Rhodes from Ile-de-France / Paris Region, France
    30 Mar 2012, 8:29 pm

    This film, which should be a big success amongst the québecois andother French-speaking Canadians for reasons I will explain later, cameout recently here in France and is having pretty substantial success.The plot : basically, a manager of the Post Office in Salon deProvence, France is trying to obtain a transfer to the Riviera in orderto satisfy his neurotic and depressive wife who wants to live near thesea. Just when he thinks he's clinched an opening in Sanary-sur-Mer, helearns that preference was given to a handicapped candidate. He thentries to pass off as handicapped, wheelchair and all, during aninterview for another post in the same area. All goes well and theinterviewer is convinced that he is handicapped and cannot walk when atthe end of the interview he stands up to say goodbye and thereby giveshimself away ! This is a pretext for a "blâme" or sanction, and thepoor guy's punishment is to be transferred, for a period of two years,right to the other end of the country to Bergues, in the Norddepartment, not far from Lille. To someone from the far south ofFrance, going to the north is like going to the north pole, and hiswife's old uncle, brilliantly played by Michel Galabru, warns him aboutthe dangers and sub zero temperatures of the north, so our friendleaves his wife in Salon and makes the journey himself, planning toreturn home every second weekend. The purpose of the film is in alighthearted and satirical way is to introduce the spectator to life inthe north of France and to have a bash at some of the stereotypescommonly held about this region. The film contains numerous linguisticjokes and references and non French speakers will have difficulty inappreciating the full force and effect of the plays on words. Chti'miis a dialect spoken in the north of France which tends to muddle c'sand ch's, use mi and ti to mean me and you, braire (bray) to mean moanor complain as well as frequent usage of the word "biroute" whichelsewhere in France is used for something more crude as well as lavishhelpings of the word "quoi" (what, eh ! )pronounced as it if were"quow". I can see the film having enormous success in theFrench-speaking area of Canada as the Chti accent is not dissimilar tothat used by the québecois and I feel intuitively that the latter willrelish in it. Director Dany Boon is actually a Chti, or northerner,himself in real life and as well as directing actually plays the partof one of the Bergues post office employees and using his chti accentto excellent effect. His mother in the film is played by singer LineRenaud ( which IMDb lists as being born in Nieppe in Department 59 –Nord – so she may well be a chti herself ! ! )These northerners arepainted as high livers, « bons vivants » over indulging in fatty foodsand alcohol, very different from the south but little by little, ournew manager gets used to this way of life, although the picture hepaints to his wife in the south is much blacker than the reality.Eventually she joins him, is initially shocked but ends up enjoyingherself too. Plot is not so important in the film, more important isthe culture shock and interaction between the players. I have lived forseveral months in the north of France and the people there are indeedhearty, sincere and friendly, far more so than those in the south ofthe country who make more noise but are generally shallower as far asfriendship goes. I also was lucky enough to have made a guided tour ofBergues about ten years ago, and found it a truly delightful place,surrounded by old fortifications. To resume, I really enjoyed the filmand will willingly purchase the DVD when it is issued.

  5. dawnrain from France
    30 Mar 2012, 8:29 pm

    If this film meets such a great success, it's just because peoplerecognize themselves in those characters. Well, they are notpolitically correct (alcoolism) but in these days when life is sodifficult for the middle and low class French people, this movie isrefreshing and helps you forget everything else. It's also a greatlesson of tolerance. Nobody should never have pre-built ideas about acountry or an area and his people. Dany Boon describes the world heknows. It's the same world that a lot of French people know, maybe notin Paris, but in the villages, in the country. For once, we have amovie with real people, real life stories of simple people. And maybepeople wants to see this from time to time, instead of crimes andviolence. Personnaly, I think this movie approaches the Marcel Pagnolmovies. Two days ago, 12,592,762 seats where sold. 12,592,762 peoplecannot be wrong.

  6. dbdumonteil
    30 Mar 2012, 8:29 pm

    As a French film lover, I had to discover this little film which wassurrounded by much hype and now ranks among the 5 most profitablemovies launched in France. Otherwise, people would have told me: "what?You haven't seen Bienvenue Chez Les Ch'Ti's? Everyone's talking aboutit. It's terrific". So terrific that it turned the small town of Berckinto an unlikely tourist attraction and a few months ago I ate adelicious "Maroual" tart! Without mentioning verbal expressions thatare now used in French common language like "Biloute". I went to see italso partly because I had enjoyed Dany Boon's first effort as adirector: "la Maison Du Bonheur" (2006) even if I especially smiledthan laughed.

    I'm a little baffled that this film which isn't that much original madeitself known in virtually every French house. The premise of a man whohas to cope with a new and supposedly hostile world has been usedthousands of times before in cinema. At first, Boon follows anapparently mapped scheme. Kad Merad is anguished at the idea to spend apart of his professional life in Northern France where it is supposedto rain every day and where inhabitants appear to be sullen. But then,things aren't what he believes them to be: it's often sunny and peopleare generally charming. But as he wants to avoid a breakdown to hiswife, Merad lies to her until one day she joins him in the Nord Pas DeCalais.

    What I like in Boon's effort is that it recycles the clichés linked tothis French area to boost laughter and it often works. I dig themoments when Merad is on the highway (to hell?) and as soon as hearrives in the Nord Pas De Calais, it starts to rain. When Merad alsotries to help Boon to solve his problem with alcohol, it's quite funnytoo. I would also quote the moments with humorist Patrick Bosso as acop who stops twice Merad on the highway and its results. Boon'sdirecting should also be praised for taking some of his clichés intounexpected territories like when Boon announces to Line Renaud that hewants to marry his girlfriend. And when Merad's wife comes to visit himin Northern France, Dany Boon thumbs the nose at the ones who have adogged vision of dreary Northern France.

    There's no denying that Boon is deeply attached to his native area. Hislove for it transpires in virtually every plan where we can see partsof the town and its inhabitants. It's obvious that he feels much moreat ease in directing and acting than in its previous effort wheresecondary roles almost stole him the show. He manages to conveytenderness for his characters to the viewer. However, like in "laMaison Du Bonheur", I especially smiled than laughed. The sole momentwhere I was dead laughing was when Merad pretends to be disabled tohave his promotion even if this trick isn't new.

    But Boon's effort is better than his first one thanks to his controlover directing (one can admire the contrast when Merad enjoys being injoyful Northern France and when he has to go back to Nice to find againhis depressed wife), clichés and also the performance as a whole. It'salso comforting that such a film rode high at the French box officewhile other productions that were likely to be successes failed inspite of a conspicuous publicity campaign like "Astérix Aux JeuxOlympiques" (2008). And it's a film that should definitely reduce thedetractors of Northern France to silence. So, I liked "Bienvenue ChezLes Ch'Ti's" but I doubt whether I would want to watch it again.

  7. Ralph Ignacio Litardo (lancaster@fibertel.com.ar) from Capital, Buenos Aires, Argentina
    30 Mar 2012, 8:29 pm

    I laughed out loud with this move, and certainly, I didn't expect it.

    Sometimes we forget how important it is to have a good plot. Nothingturns out badly, but there are some happy surprises. The best is howthe Ch'Tis play on the "brute, simple, vulgar" stereotype to theiradvantage. It'd be a crime to say more. Witness the "cat as food",spitting, Philippe's appalling house decoration.

    Another thing I liked it is that they don't "become" somebody else. Imean, in the end you see people turn out and behave as what they are.The Abrams are not Ch'Tis, and they are wary of outsiders. I'm notsaying anything important, but I think sociologically it makes it morevaluable and respectful. It has the perfect moderate amount of conflictfor making it interesting besides the "chic vs coarse" theme. Antoine'sinduced alcoholism, his love interest for Annabelle, his overbearingbut loving "maman", Julie's neurosis, always finding fault ateverything Philippe does, him lying all the time, finally for noreason.

    Kad Merad is one of the best comedy actors I've ever seen. He's got anatural talent for mimicking and copying all their local pronunciation,accents, and even ways of having fun. His scam with "neurologicaltwitching" included was masterful.

    Dany Boon is of course perfect, his face says it all. They have goodtalks despite being utterly different. Great scene of male friendship,that form of art, at the beach and "not crying" later. His twosidekicks steal the show. Even their way of dressing is just perfect.Both young women of the film are beautiful, specially Anne Marivin,always bustling with activity. I'd have liked Zoé Félix to have more tosay than just grouch and be a pain, until her nice acknowledgment nearthe end (that she may also have something to do with all this). Thefunny copper Patrick Bosso has one of those vital small roles thatdifferentiate a good from a great film. Notice how the speed at whichhe drives is a function of Philippe's moods :).

    Line Renaud, from "Le silence de l'épervier" (TV) among others, isbeautiful as an intrusive and contradictory (witness Anabelle's face atthe post office, the only time they "speak") mum who, in a way, "onlywants the best for her sun", but harasses poor Antoine following him tohis dead end job with food and constantly fearing he'd be ill but, herserious talk with him was so matter-of-fact, (while peeling potatoes,mind you!) that his face of relief afterwards is worth the price of theticket.

    If you have family or friends in the province, you've probably feel asPhilippe does. They are wary, probably will give you a couple headacheswith their "sense of humour" and yes, they "eat strangely", but withtheir heart and warmth they'll probably more than make up for it.

    Try to follow their French. I'd say 60% of the fun is there. It'scarefully geared so as for you to "learn the codes". They even teachyou how to speak and "translate" the language, twice. Which consists ofletter replacement and pronunciation as well as particles that just"don't mean anything", social rules "they invite you in when you dropby", and even intonation (the "from the guts" interjection in the end).In short, if you play moderate attention you'll end up speaking like'em. Or at least, understanding it perfectly and using its funny way ofspeaking outside the cinema. I suppose it's a matter of why and how welearn. They are SO friendly and honest, these people, that you end upwanting them. And when you feel safe and in company, you learn twice,right :)!

    "dbdumonteil" on IMDb as usual, wrote a great review, I won't touch onthe topics he did.

    I'm very glad that this film is a commercial success. I also liked thelatest Asterix iteration, but this one probably has more humanecontent. Here in Argentina we can't be so picky about European/ Frenchcinema. What comes is little and far between, so one just watcheseverything. This, with "Le diner des cons" is probably the best Frenchcomedy I've seen. The "Les Bronzés" series was also smashing, but itsomehow lacked "somebody to identify with". Something this film hasplenty of.

    Wisely it doesn't even touch social issues like unemployment andredneck political views. Consequently, achieving a bigger, almostuniversal "market share".

    Enjoy!

  8. Thomas from Germany
    30 Mar 2012, 8:29 pm

    France is not a homogeneous country at all. It is full of prejudices,different dialects habits in almost each district. The film perfectlyplays with these. Admittingly the viewer has to know France and theFrench habits. To my opinion the most characteristic scene is thewelcome dinner at the best restaurant at Bergues where Philippe isintroduced to the local dialect by his new colleagues. When he tries toplace the order he is not understood by the waiter with the argumentthat he is from Paris. Another typical scene is the welcome receptionto Philippes wife Julie, where all prejudices about "the Nord" are putin 10 minutes film. Too funny. Beside the main narration line the filmtells a story about friendship, love and the beauty of the simple life.

  9. plupu66 from Canada
    30 Mar 2012, 8:29 pm

    I have not laughed so hard in a long, long time. For those whounderstand the easy-going French spirit, there is not better comedythan a French comedy. And this is one of their funniest. Of course onehas to suspend one's disbelief on a number of occasions – heck it's acomedy, not a documentary. The French do not concern themselves withpolitical correctness either. They laugh at everything and everybody ina good natured way – not to create controversy (a la South Park).Humour comes to them naturally. It's a party and everyone is invited.Enjoy the party! If you want an action blockbuster or a film withanother type of humour (British, American etc…) this is not a goodfilm to see. It's a comedy.

  10. peter-bembel from Germany, Frankfurt
    30 Mar 2012, 8:29 pm

    A postman, named Abrams, that tried to manipulate his administrationbut get caught is sent to the North of France as punishment. In deed,in the South of France, the North is allegedly very cold, gloom, alwaysrainy; its inhabitants are perpetually unemployed, have bad habits,illiterate, can not speak French. In a nutshell, the hell. As thepostman crosses the boundary of the North region (Nord -Pas-de-Calais), with ski-boots in his car, pouring rain falls. Theadventure starts.

    At first, Abrams did not want his wife to know about the change ofregion, and hides his fate… But he makes friends very quickly. Likesthe region. At the end, he does not want to leave. You will understandwhy during the film…

    The movie satirizes the prejudices about the North of France, revealthe true aspects of the region: warmth, people with big hearts and aculture of its own, not even in Paris, about 100 km South.

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