Film review: On Tour (MFF 2011)

On Tour
Les Films du Poisson, Neue Mediopolis Filmproduktion, Arte France Cinema

STARRING Mathieu Amalric, Mimi Le Meaux, Kitten on the Keys, Dirty Martini, Roky Roulette, Julie Atlas Muz, Evie Lovelle
WRITTEN BY Mathieu Amalric, Philippe Di Folco, Marcelo Novais Teles
PRODUCED BY Yaël Fogiel, Laetitia Gonzalez
DIRECTED BY Mathieu Amalric

SHOT BY Christophe Beaucarne
EDITED BY Annette Dutertre

Screened at the 2011 Milwaukee Film Festival

Mathieu Amalric plays Joaquim, scummy rogue manager to a company of Neo-burlesque performers (starring as themselves) who travel to a number of crappy dives along the French coast, they performing and killing lots of time while he carries on his own frustrated, smoky affairs. He’s a poor manager because he’s a poor man, antagonistic with his talent, his friends, his family, lying freely and when it suits him, because the poor guy cannot live with being hated (did I mention the film was made by an actor?). Tournée was adapted from Collette’s turn-of-the-century recounting of her experiences travelling and performing, and was adapted and directed by Amalric, who took the Best Director prize at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival, where the film premiered.

Took about half of the film for me to realize that in addition to going nowhere, it would end nowhere. The girls are charming enough but what I liked best were Amalric’s wardrobe and gait – the Mayor of Scum City. Very Spike Spiegel, limber, in that sleazy suit. Always hangin’ around, always the hedonist. The feeling of hanging around in limbo, one’s life going nowhere, with the girls… it’s a solid average grade. Next benefit was getting a view of some salty French port towns – no romantic French glaze like I was force-fed in the indulgent Gainsbourg biopic. Beyond that, maybe technically speaking… the opening credit sequence is lively and enticing and not remotely representative of the spirit of the film. The technical caliber is B+/A- territory, with film grain you can feel and a floaty verité POV.

written by David Ashley