The phenomenon that is Merci patron!
by Fabien Lemercier
- Distributed by Jour2Fête, the documentary by François Ruffin, a kind of social tragi-comedy, is enjoying an incredible theatrical run at the moment
The figures speak for themselves: 39 screens in the opening week, 49 in the second, 71 in the third, 89 in the fourth, 204 in the fifth, peaking at 250 in the sixth, 214 in the seventh and 200 since yesterday – in addition to weekly attendance levels that just keep on rising from week to week, so far making a total of 320,124 admissions. The documentary Merci patron!, written and directed by François Ruffin, produced by Mille et Une Productions and Fakir, and distributed by Jour2Fête, has turned out to be, hands down, the real sensation of the year so far in French movie theatres (in its particular category).
This impressive performance for a film shot with whatever resources were to hand is just as incredible as its content, as Merci patron! adopts a very amusing and completely off-the-wall style as it explores some fairly dramatic subject matter: the serious consequences of redundancy on a family from Northern France who are teetering on the brink of crippling debt and are about to have their house seized. The job loss was initially caused by the outsourcing of a factory belonging to the LVMH group, which manufactured Kenzo suits, to Poland. And that’s where troublemaker François Ruffin, the founder of the Fakir newspaper, steps in and coaches the humble Klur family to try to tug at the heartstrings of multimillionaire chief executive Bernard Arnault. Cue the start of some hilarious misadventures for this unlikely gang of bumbling rascals as they get stuck into some ludicrous manoeuvring and manipulation that will eventually brainwash the safety officers at LVMH, who, above all, are extremely perturbed to see the possibility of the group’s AGM being disrupted. This cheering Robin Hood version of a David vs Goliath confrontation continues to enthral French viewers; it even made the headlines of the New York Times on 12 April, and is being sold abroad by Jour2Fête. We should also point out that the film will be screened as a market premiere at Cannes.
This success is also reflected by the impressive ongoing run for Irreplaceable [+see also:
film profile] by Thomas Lilti (1.23 million admissions over four weeks - Le Pacte), who, after Hippocrates [+see also:
interview: Thomas Lilti
film profile], has reasserted his talent for transforming an insightful subject (the serious lack of doctors in deepest rural France) into a movie that the general public can enjoy.
(Translated from French)