Hip Movements: Locarno Review
Rachida Brakni, Eric Cantona, Joanna Preiss, HPG, Marie d’Estrées, Jérôme Le Banner
The French porn star turned actor-director known as HPG edges closer to the mainstream with this black comedy.
LOCARNO - A broody young woman resorts to desperate measures to become pregnant in this dark comedy from the actor-director Hervé-Pierre Gustave, aka HPG, who also co-stars. A former porn star who later crossed over into directing, Gustave is a maverick figure in French cinema, with a spotty track record mostly consisting of experimental shorts and narcissistic documentaries. All the same, his second narrative feature is far more watchable and conventional than his dramatic debut We Should Not Exist, which made a minimal splash at the Directors’ Fortnight in Cannes six years ago.
Hip Movements is an uneven affair, with a tone that lurches between caustic humour and surreal melodrama, but it also has an irreverent charm and a strong authorial voice. Opening in France next month following its world premiere at the Locarno Film Festival in Switzerland two weeks ago, Gustave’s unorthodox comedy could appeal to more open-minded members of the established worldwide audience for Francophile cinema. The presence of football legend Eric Cantona and his off-screen wife Rachida Brakni in the cast may also boost the film’s modest commercial prospects.
Brakni plays Marion, a fiery young woman who leaves her husband when he refuses to collaborate in her motherhood plans. Her subsequent clumsy attempt at becoming pregnant via a drunken one night stand leads her to an unlikely lesbian affair, a sperm-stealing raid on a hospital and a fateful encounter with Hervé (Gustave). An intense loner and martial arts obsessive recently fired from his zookeeper job for depressing the animals, Hervé now works as a night-watchman at a warehouse. Cantona gives an edgy comic turn as his boss, a sentimental sadist with a lucrative sideline pimping out his monstrous wife, played by the busty transsexual Marie d’Estrées.
There are distant echoes of vintage John Waters and Pedro Almodovar here, but Gustave is less of a self-conscious stylist than either, his excursions into campy excess appearing more accidental than artful. He also lightens the mood with some zippy visual flourishes, punctuating longer scenes with recurring footage of martial arts quick-step exercises that are both dainty and hilarious. Though its plot may be heavy-handed and its characters cartoonish, Hip Movements still skips along with an agreeably goofy, cultish energy.
Venue: Locarno Film Festival screening, August 9
Production companies: Capricci Films, HPG Production, Le Fresnoy
Cast: Rachida Brakni, Eric Cantona, Joanna Preiss, HPG, Marie d’Estrées, Jérôme Le Banner
Producer: Thierry Lounas
Writers: HPG, Thomas Wallon
Editor: Isabelle Prim
Music: Géry Petit
Sales company: Capricci Films
Rating TBC, 86 minutes
Titans of Comic-Con: Stars Re-Create Classic Characters (Photos)
- Exclusive Portraits of Robert Griffin III, Ronda Rousey, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (Photos)
- MOBA: Inside the Biggest Sporting Event You've Never Heard Of (Photos)
- Emmy Awards 2014: The Nominees (Photos)
- Hollywood's Notable Deaths of 2014 (Photos)
- Sexual Harassment At Comic-Con Leads To Call For New Convention Policy
- A Conversation with CBS This Morning's Anthony Mason, Plus Chase Rice, Gentle Giant's Derek Shulman & William Gage Blanton
- The 'Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1' Trailer Is Here To Fight
- Robert Davi: Singing the Songs He Loves in a Place He Loves
- 'Hunger Games: Mockingjay' Debuts First Teaser Trailer - Watch Now!
- 'Orange Is The New Black' Almost Sweeps Young Hollywood Awards 2014 - See Complete Winners List!
- Newlyweds Naya Rivera & Ryan Dorsey Kiss, Look So in Love in Los Angeles - See Her Huge Wedding Ring!
- Justin Bieber Receives the Champ of Charity Award at the Young Hollywood Awards 2014