L'ami du jardin (1999)

  |  Thriller


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26 November 2018 | dbdumonteil
| Short people got no reason to live????
This neglected comedy is certainly smarter than the contemporary feel-good French farces ;although marred by absurd filler (a grotesque parody of Claude François, strip tease , a gangster and his moll), the subject is nothing but derivative .It might well be the movie Jean-Pierre Mocky has never done ,because of his lack of professionalism.

So much for the prelims: in a mysterious house , a murder was committed (or was it suicide?) ; the moonlit garden is full of garden gnomes ; a few days later ,a dwarf (Thual) is coming to town ,in search of his roots : he writes letters to his granny ,which are read in a voice over .Everywhere he goes, he is condescendingly treated ,with so-called friends .New murders are committed . As the unfortunate midget is ceaselessly humiliated and even bullied,might he be the criminal ?

The screeenplay is sometimes confused ,mixing thriller, social satire and fantasy and horror ,but the lines often hit home and some scenes are first-class comedy :

-Like Gerard Jugnot's irresistible scene ,in which he is moaning against Walt Disney (SnowWhite and Donald Duck )who epitomizes for this narrow-minded leftish geography teacher American imperialism;fortunately there will be duck for dinner.

-Like the country fair ,where the dwarf meets a blind girl who mistakes him for a tall brown-haired man ,and where a perfect little girl performs a horrible song on stage ,one word of it surprisingly being a four-letter word which causes scandal .

-Like all the scenes in the police station :the superintendent with big flappy ears tries to have his lieutenant cultivate his mind by making him read Marcel Proust and Marguerite Duras which scandalizes the uneducated lad : "homosexuality, a teenage girl who takes a grown-up lover ,an Asiatic at that!That's too much he can endure . Their investigations are worth the price of admission: the murder could have been committed by ... a squirrel :"you don't know how those so-called gentle animals become aggressive towards someone trying to steal their hazel-nut "; the following suspect might be a gnome garden ,because the victim pointed an accusing finger at it : "it may be something behind" cleverly says the cop "yes ,a tree"... It's all very funny,and quite mad,all of which is just fine with me.

The movie can also be looked upon as a harsh satire ,the way "normal " people look down on their fellow men ,while pretending to be nice to them;the dwarf's colleague ,the teacher's wife ,with her beaming smile and her welcoming manners may be the worst of all them; both Claire Nadeau and Yolande Moreau overplay ,which makes wonders in such a caricatured world.

Yes,in spite of a muddled screenplay and importunate filler,you should watch this comedy , seemingly completely out of touch with reality.

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Release Date:

6 October 1999



Country of Origin


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