Reality-Alain Chabat

Reality-Alain Chabat
Some films can take the viewer by surprise. Sometimes it is
a good surprise and sometimes it is bad.
Reality by French director and musician Quentin
Dupieux belongs to the good surprises. It has the concept of a film within a
film bringing back memories of Purple Rose of Cairo and The Last
Action Hero
. It also makes fun of how Hollywood conceptualize its sci-fi
and horror films and how some French producers come to Hollywood to be part of
this action film industry, becoming Americans more than Americans themselves.
Reality takes place in Hollywood and surprisingly it has a
mix of French and American actors. The most famous one is Alain Chabat, a very
talented comedian, actor and director. Her makes here his debut in an English
speaking role. I can say he could be a great contender in playing Inspector
Clouseau if someone thinks of reviving The Pink Panther series after Steve
Martin had two tries.
The film opens on Reality who is a young girl played by
child actress Kyla Kenedy who witnesses her hunter father gut a hog. From the
animal’s innards, she spots a blue video cassette.
Cut to Jon Heder (Napoleon Dynamite) who plays Denis, a
television presenter who wears a big rat suit when hosting a cookery show. One
of the crew of this show is camera-man Jason (Chabat), who wants to cast Denis
in a movie he is planning to make. Jason gets an appointment with French
producer Bob, now based in Hollywood. We understand they used to be friends
before Bob made it to the top. Apparently, Jason goes to the meeting without a
pitch or a treatment of his project. When asked by Bob about his film, Jason
tells him it is called Waves, and it is something like Tim Burton’s Mars
Attacks
as the story centers on television sets that imitate waves killing
people. Bob agrees to give Jason his breakthrough to make Waves but only
if Jason can come up with the correct sound humans will make when they are
being killed by their TV sets. Moreover, Bob thinks that this film can get the
Oscar if Jason can catch the correct groan. For the next 48 hours or more,
Jason sticks to his car trying to record the best groan ever filmed. Few days
later, Jason give a call to Bob who happens to be in his screening room
watching daily rushes of a troubled production. We discover that the film is
nothing but the story of the young girl Reality that we have seen in the
beginning. The rest of the film mixes what real and what is fiction in an
absurd yet creative way which is best to be seen that revealed.
Mr. Oizo is the musical stage name of French writer-director-editor-
DP Quentin Dupieux who of course compose the music for his films and for Reality.
Dupieux, who is now based in Los Angeles, seems to present his comic vision of
the city, a vision mixing reality with dreams and imagination. Taking on
real-life stereotypes like the arthouse director who became mainstream and the
wealthy yet shallow producer, Quentin Dupieux has achieved in reality his most
funny yet complex film in a continuation to his past films Rubber and Wrong
Cups
. Near the end, Reality doesn’t give full answers to the viewers
who must think a lot to reach their own logic of what’s happening in the
interweaving stories. If Dupieux, who seems to have digested a dose of David
Cronenberg and David Lynch films, continues this way, I assume it will get cult
status among many international fans. 

Sherif M. Awad
Sherif M. Awad
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