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‘Vive la France’: laying bare French clichés and tackling terrorism

vive-la-france-premiere-2013-castWine, French gastronomy, strikes… even the ‘ménage à trois’ are ridiculed in the film ‘Vive la France’ which released in cinemas today.

Poking fun at oneself is not what the French are most famous for. Despite their avant-garde history, auto criticism is rarely heard of. However, Michael Youn, José Garcia and Isabel Founaro have tackled the tricky subject of French stereotypes with their new production.

It all starts in Taboulistan, ‘the country where tabbouleh comes from’. Two terrorists called Muzafar and Feruz plot to hijack a plane and crash into the emblem of France, the Eiffel Tower. However, at the last minute, their plane is forced to land in Corsica – famous for its people’s hatred towards mainland France. Often criticized as being too slapstick, the film follows the adventure of the duo in their search of the ‘real’ France passing by Marseille (gangster center) and Lot (the symbol of southern picturesque countryside).

Too provocative?

Michael Youn, director and actor explained this week at the premiere of the movie the reasoning behind his comical approach to a serious subject such as terrorism.

“We don’t laugh at the victims. We have suffered because of terrorism… But fear is the worst thing’”.

His words are well timed as France has been under threat of terrorist attacks since intervening in Mali.

When asked if the film crossed any ethical limits, Michael Youn, in a relationship with Isabel Founaro who also stars in the film, responded that he believed no boundaries were breached.

Weather it be a fetish sex scene including two men and a policeman or the comical approach to terrorism, ‘Vive la France’ tests the limits of humor whilst also reaching out to a wide audience. As Michael Youn said, Wednesday will be the test: will it be a success or has he got it all wrong?

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