Wednesday, September 16, 2015

L'Ibis rouge

1975, France, directed by Jean-Pierre Mocky

A film I'd seen once before twenty years ago, before I appreciated the position Mocky occupied in the French comic firmament. While he was well-known for his acid take on French society (and, especially, French political life) early on, that tendency really accelerated in the 1970s and L'Ibis rouge is a fine example of his style from that period. The strain of almost aggressively absurdist humour was very prevalent in the immediate post-1968 era -- Mocky, Blier, the various performers associated with the café-théâtre and/or the comic-book world. As humorous world-views go, Mocky's is pretty bleak stuff -- as much as there were moments of high comedy here and there the ending is pretty downbeat, to say the least. Also characteristic are the moments of visual humour, particularly the splashes of colour in the form of the yellow-clad cyclists or the red-tracksuited men. There's a bit of a kitchen-sink feel to his humour on occasion, a scattershot approach that's both deliberate and perfectly willing to miss the target for some viewers some of the time (that, too, is very much a hallmark of the French comic tradition of the 1970s, including in the print sphere). 

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Boston, Massachusetts, United States