×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

French Wedding Caribbean Style

A far cry from the ethnic feel-good wedding pics inundating domestic shores, Julius Amedee Laou's low-budget pic peels back layers of West Indian bonhomie to lay bare cultural confusion and self-loathing. In the process, pic delivers a surprising feminist critique of the culture of the Caribbean isles. DV-shot pic could find its aud on indie cable.

A far cry from the ethnic feel-good wedding pics inundating domestic shores, Julius Amedee Laou’s low-budget “French Wedding” peels back layers of West Indian bonhomie to lay bare a core of cultural confusion and self-loathing. In the process, pic delivers a surprising feminist critique of the culture of the Caribbean isles. DV-shot film’s deliberately amateurish “video diary” look disguises painstakingly careful compositions and a rigorous structure. A bit too off-kilter in terms of both subject matter and general treatment for regular arthouse fare, pic could find its aud on indie cable.

The makeup of the bridal party suggests a racial divide — the groom is white, the bride black. Not only that, but the bride’s genial father has theoretical reservations about mixed marriages while the groom’s uptight mother can barely contain her bone-deep bigotry. Yet most of the conflict that arises within the large, already integrated West Indian family living in France is triggered not by race but by personality.

First half of pic is seen through the eyes and accompanied by the breezy voice-over of the teenage brother of the bride who, having missed the wedding ceremony because he was dallying with his girlfriend, seeks to make amends by filming the reception. He introduces the clan, exclaiming loud and long over the idiocy of female cousins who deny their patent “blackness” but framing the men without editorial commentary even though they hold forth ad aburdum on the sexual prowess of the prodigiously hung father of the bride.

The bride’s ex-boyfriend arrives with a poisonous wedding gift: a porn film starring the newlywed wife. The groom’s mother succumbs to febrile hysteria, while uncles heap blame on the silently weeping bride. Even the brother abandons his sister and his video camera to sulk in his room.

At this point, pic’s central axis shifts. The bride’s sister picks up her brother’s camera and pushes the “record” button as the women take up the defense of the bride.

In contrast to the cocksure exuberance of the teen boy’s video stylings (backing up to neatly include himself in the frame, strategically provoking reactions in his elderly relatives), helmer Laou creates a far more nuanced, complex digital palette for the girl. When she ventures into the outside world in search of the distraught bride, the streets register in a blue-tinged monochrome, isolating the colorful family home. An emotional confrontation with her mother, wherein the daughter rants about the unendurable pain of being a woman in a society where she is seen as sexual prey, occasions a switch in point of view, her mother appropriating the camera to capture her daughter’s lament.

Finally, the sister and her camera go into hiding when her grandmother, imperious matriarch and all-knowing keeper of terrible family secrets, feigns illness in order to blackmail her sons, one by one, into supporting their niece.

French Wedding Caribbean Style

France - Martinique

Production: A Les Film de la Baleine/Jakaranda production in association with Caribbean Media Arts/Bonne/RFO. Produced by Philippe Goldfain. Directed, written by Julius Amedee Laou.

Crew: Camera (color, DV), Ahmed Diop; editor, Valerie Breghin; music, Michel Sardaby; sound, Antoine Deflandre; casting Celine Dupuis. Reviewed at African Diaspora Film Festival, New York, Dec. 7, 2003. Running time: 91 MIN. (French dialogue)

More Film

  • Glass Movie

    'Glass' to Rank in Top 3 MLK Debuts With $48 Million

    M. Night Shyamalan’s “Glass” is on its way to a solid debut with an estimated $48 million for the four-day Martin Luther King Jr. weekend. A sequel to 2000’s “Unbreakable” and 2017’s “Split,” the Universal superhero thriller should bring in around $41 million from 3,841 domestic locations over the Friday through Sunday period. The estimates are [...]

  • China's 'Three Adventures of Brooke' to

    China's 'Three Adventures of Brooke' to Hit French Theaters (EXCLUSIVE)

    Midnight Blur Films has signed a deal with French distributor Les Acacias to release Chinese arthouse drama “Three Adventures of Brooke” in France this year, the Chinese production company told Variety on Saturday. A release date has yet to be set for the film, which premiered at the Venice Film Festival and stars Chinese newcomer Xu Fangyi [...]

  • Noe Debre On His Directorial Debut,

    Top French Screenwriter Noe Debre Makes Directorial Debut, ‘The Seventh Continent’

    This last half-decade, few French screenwriters have run up such an illustrious list of co-write credits as Noé Debré. Thomas Bedigain’s writing partner on Jacques Audiard’s Cannes Palme d’Or winner “Deephan,” Debra co-penned Bedigain’s own debut, “The Cowboys,” “Racer and the Jailbird,” by Michael Roskam, and “Le Brio,” directed by Yvan Attal. He has now [...]

  • Julien Trauman Talks Survival-Thriller Short ‘At

    Julien Trauman on Survival-Thriller Short ‘At Dawn’

    France’s Julien Trauman has never been afraid to play with genre, and in his latest short, the MyFrenchFilmFestival participant “At Dawn,” he employs aspects of psychological thriller, survival, coming-of-age and fantasy filmmaking. “At Dawn” kicks off the night before when a group of teens, one about to leave town, are imbibing heavily around a beach-side [...]

  • ‘Flowers’ Director Baptiste Petit-Gats Interview

    Baptiste Petit-Gats: ‘Editing Taught Me How to Write for Film’

    France’s Baptiste Petit-Gats is an hyphenate that keeps himself plenty busy editing, photographing, writing and directing. The bulk of his editing gigs up until now have been in documentary film work, evident in the way he shot and edited his own short film, participating in the MyFrenchFilmFestival, “Flowers.” In the film, Petit-Gats tells the heartbreaking [...]

  • Fanny Litard, Jérémy Trouilh on ‘Blue

    France’s Fanny Liatard, Jérémy Trouilh Discuss MyFFF Suburban Fable ‘Blue Dog’

    French filmmakers Fanny Liatard and Jérémy Trouilh met at university while studying political science before diverging towards separate careers. Trouilh trained in documentary filmmaking; Liatard worked on urban artistic projects in Lebanon and France. They eventually joined back up to film three shorts: “Gagarine,” a Sundance Channel Shorts Competition Jury Prize winner in 2016; “The [...]

  • MFFF: 'The Collection' Director Blanchard Readies

    'The Collection' Director Emmanuel Blanchard Readies First Feature

    Paris-born Emmanuel Blanchard studied and then taught history before becoming a documentary filmmaker responsible for films such as “Bombing War,” “Le diable de la République” and “Après la guerre.” He’s currently directing “Notre-Dame de Paris”, a 90-minute animated part-doc, part-fiction film on the building of the world-famous Paris cathedral. Competing at MyFFF, “The Collection” is [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content