Review: ‘Don’t Cry Germaine’

Adapted from a Euro bestseller by Claude Jasmin, "Don't Cry Germaine" is a kind of Belgian take on "National Lampoon's Vacation" in which the perpetually bickering but resiliently intrepid Bedard family motors to Spain in search of new beginnings. Home will be where the coin is for this knockabout comedy laced with heavier issues, as regional humor will limit frequent flier miles to local markets.

Adapted from a Euro bestseller by Claude Jasmin, “Don’t Cry Germaine” is a kind of Belgian take on “National Lampoon’s Vacation” in which the perpetually bickering but resiliently intrepid Bedard family motors to Spain in search of new beginnings. Home will be where the coin is for this knockabout comedy laced with heavier issues, as regional humor will limit frequent flier miles to local markets.

Since the apparent suicide of their daughter Rolande, Gilles and Germaine Bedard (Dirk Roofthooft, Rosa Renom) have struggled to keep their marriage and family together. Persuading her blustery hubby to return to her Spanish Pyrenees hometown, Germaine rounds up her quiet teenage son, increasingly wild pubescent daughter Muriel (Cathy Grosjean) and mischievous young twins for an odyssey that turns into the inevitable endurance test: The kids have stashed their dead dog in the luggage, Gilles discovers a man responsible for Rolande’s death and various crises threaten to blow this family sky-high. Pic plays rougher than the synopsis, as the slovenly Bedards make the Griswolds look like attractive traveling companions. Tech credits are adequate.

Don't Cry Germaine

Belgium-France-Spain

Production

A Laurenfilm (Spain)/Cooperative Nouveau Cinema (Belgium) release of a Y.C. Aligator production, in association with Stupid Studio, Oberon Cinematografica, Tchin Tchin Prods., RTBF. (International sales: Art Box, Paris.) Produced by Eric van Beuren. Directed by Alain de Halleux. Screenplay, de Halleux, Eric van Beuren, from the novel by Claude Jasmin.

Crew

Camera (color), Philippe Guilbert; editor, Michele Maquet; music, Carles Cases; production designer, Elisabeth Houtart; sound (Dolby SRD), Pierre Mertens. Reviewed at World Film Festival, Montreal (World Cinema), Aug. 31, 2000. Original title: Pleure pas Germaine. Running time: 96 MIN.

With

Rosa Renom, Dirk Roofthooft, Cathy Grosjean, Benoit Skalka, Iwana Krzeptowski, Simon de Thomaz.
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