Chubby, one hundred kilos of pure tenderness
by Giorgia Del Don
- Belgian-Swiss director Bruno Deville presents his first feature in competition at the Zurich Film Festival
After being much talked about thanks to two shorts, La bouée and La boule d’or, awarded at various important international festivals (Locarno, Visions du réel festival in Nyon and Clermont-Ferrand), Bruno Deville makes his debut with his first feature film Chubby [+see also:
film profile]. A film of rare freshness and spontaneity that was able to captivate at Zurich by touching the audience and moving them to tears of laughter almost. Following its debut in August in the international competition of the Angoulème Francophone Film Festival, Chubby makes an appearance at the Zurich Film Festival (its first showing on German-language screens) and takes home the Emerging Swiss Talent Award.
Bouboule tells the story of Kevin, a twelve-year-old who every day faces the stress linked to his weight problem. Although he’s just a kid, Kevin has to contend with serious issues that only an adult should have to deal with: severe diets and heart problems, frightening and mysterious buzzwords that weigh on his mind like a sword of Damocles. And yet, even if the future of our Chubby (played by David Thielemans, a wonderful discovery) is not the most reassuring, his life continues peacefully, lulled by his easygoing nature and by his acute sensitivity. Like a reassuring teddy bear Kevin is cuddled by his mother who seeks comfort among the soft creases of his chubby face. But Chubby is not a child anymore and the time has come for him to grow up and to finally become “a man”. The problem is that his idea of masculinity is rather confused. Plagued by childlike sensitivity and deprived of a real father figure, Kevin loses himself in his twelve-year-old daydreams. In this context of uncertainty Chubby meets Patrick, a security guard who appears to be delusional, and his guard dog Rocco. Patrick thus becomes his reference figure, the big brother he never had and the one who seems able to free him from the heavy burden of his life (both literally and figuratively). Reality is not always what it seems however and Chubby will once again have to grapple with an umpteenth (but unexpected and eye-opening) disappointment.
With his first feature Bruno Deville offers us the touching portrait of young marginalized boy, who behind his astonishing weight hides a heart of gold. A character that is real and vulnerable enough to become the hero of an entire audience that follows his adventures without ever becoming bored. The young Belgian-Swiss director shows us with Chubby that he is an excellent narrator capable of fine-tuning sensitivity and pure enjoyment, a very difficult task that many fail to achieve. Chubby is undoubtedly as big as a house but his kindness and spontaneity make him seem as light as a feather. A truly refreshing movie that will continue its journey to the Busan International Film Festival (where it’s currently being screened) before landing in Belgium at the Namur International Francophone Film Festival.
Chubby is sold internationally by Films Distribution
(Translated from Italian)