Third day of my dearest Festival, and I was well rested as I rode the Métro once again to see what was up today.
The past years, we had several rooms where different movies, short films and documentaries were presented simultanously. For the 2016 40th edition, because of number of problems, the Festival has only one screen, presenting 6 movies per day.
No going through the program, choosing what I will go for. I just show up and sit in my seat (up to now, G26 is MINE), and enjoy what’s been scheduled.
Remember how horribly disappointed I was yesterday? Well, today, it is quite the opposite.
I usually take one or two days of break because watching movies 6, 8 or 10 hours a day is demanding. Very few of the movies are in French or English. Meaning having to do a lot of subtitle reading, on top of the attention you pay to the story that’s being told. You just can’t let your mind fly away, even for a minute or two.
I considered not going today, and it would have been a terrible mistake!
Today, I watched a film from Belgium, “Everybody Happy” from Nic Balthazar (who also made Ben X), whom I had the chance to have a chat with after the screening. It was the World Premiere of this b.e.a.utiful movie, and I am happy to think I am one of the lucky people who got to watch it first!
I had my doubts at first, I must say, and I am almost embarassed I did.
It is the story of a couple of comedians on tour, and the main character is the eldest of the band. Ralph Hartman is a well established comedian fighting with the struggles of depression. Haunted by the inner voice that is pulling him down to rock bottom, he seeks a way back up on track. Things unravel and thumble as the group prepares for an important live show that will be a turning point in their carreers…
I was afraid of a cliché, the sad clown. The main character, played by amazing Peter Van den Begin, made me think about Hugh Laurie as soon as the movie began. As a lot of people know, Mr Laurie had to deal with depression matters, and I feared the story would be about a talented man and his darker side…
But I was wrong, wrong, wrong (yeah three times!). Mr Balthazar found a brilliant way to picture how people on their way towards, facing, or dealing with the remains of depression bring their own self down uncounciously. I’d love to tell you that twist, but the movie is sooooo worth seeing, that I wouldn’t want to spoil it for you.
As the story goes on, and Ralph plunges in the depths of self destruction, we discover that everybody strugles, on different levels, of that self down-bringing.
What happens to Ralph, who practically lost touch with all of his friends and family over time? I’ll let you discover for yourself… Spoiling is bad, you know? But let me tell you, you want to know 🙂
One of the amazing things about Everybody Happy, is that although it clearly treats the delicate, dark and taboo subject of depression, the comedy background makes it just light enough not to get out of the theater feeling blue. The balance is incredible and it is as much a life lesson and feel good movie.
Another thing I loved about the story, is that usually, movies talking about depression are usually good to (try to) explain depression to people who never experienced it, or good make people who went down that road feel better. Everybody Happy does both… Indeed making everybody happy 😉
On a final note, I was impressed to chat about the subject with someone who had never had to deal with depression while understanding it so well. When I thanked Mr. Balthazar for his work, explaining my own ups and downs, I never saw the least pity in his intense eyes. That was quite a first. And I bow, thankful that he could come up with this little gem of a film!
Here’s the trailor… Hoping it’ll be distributed to your country in a near future… If you can put your hand on it, treat yourself! You’ll get a good laugh, might shed a tear or two, and mostly, you’ll get a nice life lesson wrapped in entertainment!
Bravo Mr. Balthazar…
Ohhhh before that, I saw Swaying Waterlily (Turkey) which was lovely, but not comparable in any way…
And after? Well, after, I packed up my stuff and called it a day! I needed to keep flowing on the thoughts Everybody Happy had brought to my mind!