Two contempo Frenchmen of Antillean descent visit their ancestors’ time as well as their land in the slavery-themed French laffer “Case depart,” from rookie helming trio Lionel Steketee, Fabrice Eboue and Thomas Ngijol. Also starring popular standup comedians Eboue and Ngijol (both of Cameroonian heritage), pic doesn’t push its time-travel conceit far enough to come up with more than easy laughs and broad insights. Nonetheless, urban appeal and topicality in multicultural Gaul has turned this into one of the summer’s local sleeper hits.Middle-class Joel (Eboue), “from Normandy” though he’s half Antillean, is just as casually racist as his colleagues. His half-brother, Aggis (Ngijol), on the other hand, uses his skin color as an excuse for everything, including his low station in life. At their dad’s deathbed, they show little respect for family history — and through an auntie’s witchcraft find themselves working as slaves along their ancestors until they’ve learned their lesson. Thesp-writer-helmers’ standup background shows in the episodic structure and preference for hit-or-miss punchlines over proper scene setups, though Cuba-shot locations look good. Title translates as “Start,” like the first square of a board game.
A Mars Distribution release of a Legende presentation of a Legende, Legende Films, TF1 Films Prod., Mars Films production, in association with Canal Plus, Cinecinema, TF1 Video. (International sales: Other Angle Prods., Paris.) Produced by Ilan Goldman. Directed by Lionel Steketee, Fabrice Eboue, Thomas Ngijol. Screenplay, Eboue, Ngijol, Jerome L'Hostky.
Camera (color), Jean-Claude Aumont; editor, Frederique Olszak; music, Alexandre Azaria; production designer, Christian Marti; costume designers, Pierre-Jean Larroque, Gilles Bodu-Le Moine. Reviewed at Le Palace, Metz, France, July 15, 2011. Running time: 94 MIN.
Fabrice Eboue, Thomas Ngijol, Stefi Celma, Eriq Ebouaney, Etienne Chicot, Catherine Hosmalin, David Salles, Franck de la Personne, Josephine de Meaux, Franck Migeon, Max Baissette de Malglaive, Isabelle del Carmen Solar Montalvo. French, Creole dialogue