Review: ‘Bon Voyage’

Director-coscenarist Robert Ralston's first narrative feature is an initially routine fish-out-of-water comedy that gradually works its way into the viewer's good graces. Tale of an uptight German yuppie trying to claim his father's remains in a stubbornly uncooperative Romania should score some Euro tube dates while serving as a solid calling card.

Director-coscenarist Robert Ralston’s first narrative feature “Bon Voyage” is an initially routine fish-out-of-water comedy that gradually works its way into the viewer’s good graces. Tale of an uptight German yuppie trying to claim his father’s remains in a stubbornly uncooperative Romania develops considerable charm despite mediocre lensing and an occasionally too-casual, semi-improvised script. Pic should score some Euro tube dates while serving as a solid calling card.

To his girlfriend’s disapproval, persnickety Berliner Martin (co-writer Felix Theissen) flies off to reclaim the corpse of a hunting-accident-killed pater he was never close to. But this exercise in filial duty runs into immediate snags, starting with the apparent theft of Martin’s wallet, his purchase of a broken-down used car, and the difficulty in locating hospital where dad is presumably laid out. These petty aggravations adds up to little interest until protag’s path crosses with romantically entwined if ever-spatting locals Imre (Tibor Palffi) and Agi (Kriszta Biro), who reluctantly help him — and vice versa. Culture-clash story grows increasingly delightful, with agreeable perfs and situations trumping the flaws. Chief among the latter is blah vid-origin imagery whose poor night photography dims some climactic sequences.

Bon Voyage

Germany-Switzerland-Hungary

Production

A Gute Films production in association with Duna TV. Produced by Robert Ralston. Co-producer, Gyorgy Durst. Directed by Robert Ralston. Screenplay, Ralston, Felix Theissen.

Crew

Camera (color, DV-to-35mm), Gyorgi Boros; editor, Christof Schilling; music, Ben Abarbanel-Wolff, Kanizsa Csillagai. Reviewed at San Francisco Berlin & Beyond Film Festival, Jan. 14, 2006.Running time: 75 MIN.

With

Felix Theissen, Kriszta Biro, Tibor Palffi.
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