Emmenez-moi (2005)
A film directed by Edmond Bensimon

Genre: Comedy / Drama

Film Review

"We're off to see the wizard..."  Part road movie, part eccentric homage to a certain Hollywood musical classic of 1939, Emmenez-moi is one of those strange low budget productions which somehow manage to charm and entertain an audience in spite of its daringly experimental approach.
Emmenez moi 2005 pic 1
It's certainly an unusual film stylistically - most of it is shot in (ugly) low resolution digital video in the manner of an amateur recording, something that would put off most spectators. The approach works, partly because it serves the script so well, allowing many of the jokes to be a lot funnier than they might otherwise have been, but also because we do get the occasional “break”. These arrive when the central character launches into a spontaneous (and sometimes highly inappropriate) rendition of a Charles Aznavour song, instantly transporting us into a colour saturated happy fantasy world, making a stark contrast with the drab colourless view of the real world. (The Wizard of Oz parallels are obvious, but there are some more subtle references for those who enjoy hunting for such things.)

Emmenez-moi is the first feature from director Edmond Bensimon, who previously scripted Michel Boujenah's comedy Père et fils (2003) and was head writer on the television series Cirque du Soleil (2003-4). The film stars Gérard Darmon, a very talented and popular actor who is - as ever - quite amazing. It's hard to imagine anyone else playing the lead role in this film: he conveys not just the fired-up manic obsession of a fan who would embark on a mad odyssey and give up everything just to meet his idol, but also the brutal realism of his character's life and social situation. Jean-Claude's love of Aznavour has as much to do with his need to escape from a failed, uneventful life, as it is with the singer's obvious attractions.
Emmenez moi 2005 pic 2
Unfortunately for the film, it's a bit too obvious that Darmon is carrying the film almost entirely by himself. His lacklustre co-stars are all too easily eclipsed by his charisma, and Damien Jouillerot is actually rather annoying as Benoît (the part should have gone to a younger, more sympathetic actor). As a result, the film does feel unbalanced and lacking in substance, with the narrative struggling to keep going around its midpoint. (An eventful run in with small-minded gendarmes is a poor substitute for an encounter with the Munchkins.)

What brings things round and rewards you for sticking with the film to the end is its superb denouement, which, whilst shamelessly over-optimistic, leaves you with a good feeling, a sense that sometimes dreams can come true and that life isn't always just an endless conveyor belt of disappointments. Despite its obvious deficiencies, Emmenez-moi is a likable and original film that is both poignant and funny - a very promising debut for its director, Edmond Bensimon.
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When his nephew, Benoît, manages to get hold of a video-camera, fifty-something Jean-Claude feels obliged to record a personal message for his lifelong hero, Charles Aznavour...
[Read more...]

Film Credits

Directed by Edmond Bensimon
Starring: Gérard Darmon, Zinedine Soualem, Lucien Jean-Baptiste, Damien Jouillerot, Emmanuelle Hazard
[Read more...]

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