|Even someone like me isn't above being slightly offended by this poster. It's too much of hitting the nail on the head...so to speak.|
After his recent teary-eyed adorable triumph at the Oscars, Frenchy Frenchman Jean DuJardin was untouchable. Between starring in the sleeper hit and best picture of the year The Artist (2011), and charming everyone and their mothers with his inherent Frenchness, pencil-thin mustache, and acceptance speech crying, It would appear the world is his oyster voulete. But he's quickly learning that not all of his actions are adorable and sweet. Case and point: ads for his upcoming film reunited with Michel Hazanavicius (American title: The Players, original title: Les infidèles) sparked some controversy not just here in Puritanical hypocritical America, but (gasp) in France too.
It is consistently being called a 'very French film', I have no idea what this means in a contemporary context; is it full of shots of Eiffel Tower with Edith Piaf singing in the background and everyone of the extras constantly smoking? I only kid, what I'm assuming it actually means is that it's uncompromisingly and unapologetically promiscuous. So basically, it's a film about sex with a lot of sex in it...starring Jean DuJadrin...and some other people.
Here's the thing, I don't believe the French to be that big of an authority on sex in the cinema, though they like to constantly state that they are. I think they definitely make coitus into a bigger deal than it usually should be in any given context and tend to chew the scenery with gratuitous thrusting in random and unusual places where everyone is crying after, but other than that I don't believe it to ever be an honest portrayal of any given person's sex life. Even someone like Catherine Breillat whom I greatly admire as a filmmaker sometimes goes overboard, and I'm not talking about a sensory overload of endless fucking, (which can be applied to most of her films) I'm talking about substituting basic plot and storytelling guidelines for scenes of immeasurable nastiness (watch Anatomy of Hell 2004, I dare you). It seems like French filmmakers do a fantastic job of convincing everyone how painful sexual relationships are, and how disillusioning the experience is. They often flout the idea that intercourse leads to nowhere good, and now they get to do so in High Definition and perhaps even at some point 3-D.
But not to worry fine upstanding asexual citizens, The Players is a comedy. Therefore, it's sure not to contain as much pubic hair as you expect from a French film. But wait wait, it's already getting some negative press for being overly provocative and sexist. And I'm not talking Mad Men sexist, actual sexism without irony. The poster art speaks for itself. Though the subject of infidelity is often amusing, it is in danger of crossing into the sleazy zone.
I love a no-holds-barred sex comedy as much as the next filth blogger, but the ad campaign was way the wrong choice. It looks like a cover for a unintentionally hilarious 'classy' porno and quite frankly makes DuJardin look like quite the creep. I also found it funny that in the original poster art, DuJardin's tie is actually not swept for his shoulder but extended down as it is regularly supposed to do, making it almost look as if it's hanging right into the middle of whomever legs those are, providing a not-so-subtle double entendre. I just happen to think it's not in good taste.
DuJardin is clearly trying to establish himself as a jack-of-all-trades, but I don't think coming off as a serial philanderer is the correct route right now. He's trying to go from the universally adored soft-spoken DuJardin to the James Bondesque no-apologies swave as fuck DuJardin, but the transition is just not happening as smoothly as one would like.
Below is an article about said controversy:
DuJardin is Unfaithful!
And here is the French trailer for said film: My french is very poor but I'm imagining most of the dialogue goes something like: 'she just landed on my dick, I have no idea how it happened'.