SFF: Play it like Godard – Jonathan Zaccaï pokes fun at precociousness

One thing I just have to say before I went to the film last night, is how bloody AMAZING the Vivid Sydney festival is.  I Haven’t been to this festival before – despite its review as one of the top ten festivals in the world in the Guardian and despite its being a ten minute train ride from my home.  Light sculptures decorate all the buildings in the CBD, around Circular Quay and Darling Harbour, as well as the board walks being covered in illuminated sculptures. It’s just stunning and completely mesmerizing.

Check this out:

Now – on to the film.

What a lovely little fun flick this was.  Ok – it isn’t a work of genius, and I can’t find a positive review about it (ha!) but I had a great time, and would recommend it to everyone.

He won a Palme d’Or at 15 years of age and a César Award at 16, but for JC, the hardest test is the baccalaureate!

Scripted by Jonathan Zaccaï, the film traces the misadventures of Jean-Christophe Kern, better known by his pseudonym JC. He is not like other teenagers: a renowned film director and regular award-winner, at 17 years old he reigns over the young generation of filmmakers with ever more ambitious projects and actors who will do anything to work with him.  A mix of Peter Sellers, Jean-Luc Godard and a teen lambda with romantic relations and his relationship with his parents, JC deals with the complications of relationships after he has pierced through the veneer of sycophants.  There are some fantastic moments, like his filming of lovemaking with his girlfriend because he believes it will help free the Chinese from oppression and his fear of the graffiti artist, who is also making a bio-pic, because he is “younger and edgier”.

The subject of a teaser in MK2’s free magazine Trois Couleurs with a mock interview with JC, who is presented as a heir to the likes of Steven Soderbergh, Gregg Araki and Darren Arofnosky, Play It Like Godard was shot last February as a docu-fiction.

For his debut directorial feature, Play It Like Godard, actor Jonathan Zaccaï has chosen a parodic comedy set in the film industry world.  Although its set in the film world, it is more a film about the fetish of precociousness, and the way child “geniuses” are fawned over and adored. The writing is witty, and acting deliciously understated and subtle and the film making itself part of the internal joke. It’s an intelligent film that assumes intelligence in the audience – no Hollywood sledge hammers here!

This French/Belgian co-production boasts a cast including Vincent Lacoste (nominated for the Best Male Newcomer César in 2010 for The French Kissers), Elsa Zylberstein, Aure Atika, Ella Waldmann, Elodie Hesme and Eric de Montalier, with appearances by Kad Merad and Gilles Lellouche.  I have to say, Lacoste has an excellent sense of comedic timing and an amazingly droll look. He’s just great here – a real pleasure to watch.

Produced by Vicious (the director’s Paris-based company) and Belgium’s Nexus Factory, Play It Like Godard will be released in France on January 25, 2012 by MK2 Diffusion.

I definitely recommend this one for a bit of fun.  I laughed out loud several times through this film, and found myself disappointed to reach its end. Speaking of the end – stay around for the credits, because there is a hilarious moment where JC sits on a park bench with “Godard” and they discuss the excellent writing in Shrek 2.