Movie  Le grand partage, directed by Alexandra Leclère
16/02/201900:00 Judith Prescott

 

Combining social drama with comedy requires a lightness of touch missing from Leclère’s dismal Le grand partage. This despite the best efforts of Karin Viard whose presence in any film is usually enough to lift it out of the ordinary ( Lulu Femme Nue, 21 nuits avec Pattie, On a failli etre amis). There is comic potential in the story of the bourgeois residents of an apartment building being forced to shelter homeless people during a particularly harsh winter. But Leclère has fallen back on clichés and stereotypes and skirts dangerously close to bad taste in several scenes.

 



 

During a fierce winter in the capital, the government issues a decree obliging French citizens to take in a homeless person until the weather changes. Horrified by the idea of having to share their living space with these people, several families in the same apartment building in one of the capital’s swankiest arrondissements are ready to take extreme measures to prevent the unthinkable.

 



 

There’s racial stereotyping of the most blatant kind. The African family moves in en masse with extended family members in tow and it’s not long before there’s a carnival atmosphere with lots of food, singing and dancing. On a more sinister level, the eastern European male turns out to be thief running off with anything he can put his hands on.  And Josiane Balasko’s concierge, who organises a network of exchanges between the residents so they can swap undesirable homeless people for someone more suitable, is 100% creepy and devoid of any humour whatsoever.

 



 

Last year’s bumper box-office success, Qu’est ce qu’on a fail au Bon Dieu, also played fast and loose with issues of race. It failed to find distributors in Britain or the US due to its controversial content. It will be interesting to see whether Leclère’s film rubs up against similar Anglo-Saxon political correctness.


 

Watch this movie on our network - find schedules in your local timezone here. The article was originally published on Judith Prescott's blog, French Cinema Review. See the bio below for more information on our contributing blogger!


 

I have worked as a journalist for 24 years both in London, England and now in Paris, France. I was a broadcast journalist for the English service of Radio France Internationale in Paris for 17 years before leaving to set up a blog for French cinema fans everywhere. I also worked as a reviewer of French films for The Hollywood Reporter and was a jury member for the Prix Michel d'Ornano at the Festival of American Films at Deauville. I am passionate about French films, both old and new, and want to share this passion with filmgoers around the globe.

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