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aka - Charge!
France 2000
Directed by
Robert Guediguian
90 minutes
Rated M

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
3 stars

A L'Attaque!

Robert Guédiguian gives an intentionally light-hearted twist to his usual subject matter – life in Struggletown for ordinary Marseillais – and at the same time has a bit of fun with his own identity as a film maker in this story of a pair of scriptwriters (Jean-Pierre Darroussin and Gérard Meylan) cooking up a yarn about an extended family who are on the brink of losing their small garage to the bank. The film switches setting from the two scribes to the story they are imagining and does so with often comic results.

Although Guédiguian’s regular repertory players are sometimes ill-suited to the roles in which they are cast (Ariane Ascaride, for example, is too old to play a young mother), the fictional narrative is secondary to the real appeal of the film which is the self-aware mise-en-abyme riffing on the tropes of film-making as one of the pair heads towards a crassly entertaining rom-com, the other wants to tackle serious political and social issues and the film within the film shifts tone accordingly at times even segueing into the domain of the musical.

A L'Attaque! is decidedly a side-project, a kind of holiday from the director's more characteristic confronting work but it is, at least conceptually, enjoyable.




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