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  Fairy, The O For A Wish Or Three
Year: 2011
Director: Dominique Abel, Fiona Gordon, Bruno Romy
Stars: Dominique Abel, Fiona Gordon, Philippe Martz, Bruno Romy, Vladimir Zongo, Destiné M'Bikula Mayemba, Willson Goma, Didier Armbruster, Anaïs Lemarchand, Lenny Martz, Emilie Horcholle, Sandrine Morin, Christophe 'René' Philippe, Alexandre Xenakis
Genre: Comedy, FantasyBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: Dom (Dominique Abel) had trouble getting to work this evening because the chain kept coming off his bicycle, leaving him eventually having to carry it to the hotel where he has a job as the night porter. After admonishments from his boss, he settles down for a quiet night in La Havre, making himself a sandwich, though he doesn't notice the cap from the bottle of ketchup he was using has fallen into it. He gets comfortable in front of the television and is just about to take a bite when the bell goes - it's a customer (Philippe Martz) with a dog, but they don't allow dogs.

It's going to be one of those nights for poor old Dom, which he may be left baffled and exhausted by but might have the audience laughing away merrily. The Fairy, or La Fée as it was known originally, was the third film to spring from the minds of Belgian comedy troupe Abel, Fiona Gordon and Bruno Romy, and enjoyed their highest profile so far as more people caught on to their particular kind of humour, which could oh so easily be labelled with the quirky stamp, which might give you reservations. Quirky French comedy? Not for everyone, is what that indicates for many English speakers, but set aside those doubts and you might well find yourself enjoying it.

Then again, you could just as easily find yourself confused as to what this trio were trying to tell you as the question of how much of this was fantasy and how much was reality pressed heavily on the goings-on here. It starts out as basic comedy as the customer smuggles his dog in his bag to fool Dom, meaning there's a bag wandering around by itself which the porter either cannot be bothered to point out, or has been genuinely fooled by. But then the tone shifts into something more like magic realism when Gordon appears at the door, announces herself as Fiona, a fairy, and informs him she can offer three wishes with which he can do anything he wants. Should you be sceptical, she manages to get the out of order lift working.

Then again, that could be coincidence, but once Dom takes a bite from the sandwich and chokes on the cap, Fiona reappears and headbutts him to clear the blockage, then gives him a massage with her feet to make him feel better as he lies on the floor recovering. It is here he tells her his first two wishes, one, to get a scooter to replace his broken bike, and two, a never-ending supply of fuel for it. Fiona grants this by apparently stealing a scooter and making some kind of deal with a worker at the nearby refinery so Dom can get his own key to a fuel silo, so you see we could still be in the realms of the real world. It's only later that we get to see a man able to fly, or Fiona becoming nine months pregnant in a matter of seconds.

Therefore you can understand this was marching to the beat of its own weird drum, but not one which was alienating in any way; if there was a sense that while their invention ran high then there was a slightly exhausting nature to it all, it did not wear out its welcome as the tone was relentlessly goodnatured. Add a trio of refugees, the residents of a mental hospital where Fiona ends up for a while, and a bar where the shortsighted owner (Romy) serves a women's rugby team one of whom treats us to a song while the others blow on her to create a romantic breeze, and you had work fixated on not going about the task of telling a story, or making a comedy for that matter, in a conventional fashion. It was cutesy it was true, but it would take a stony heart not be won over by such winningly exuberant absurdity, so while the plot seemed to have been assembled in time-honoured William S. Burroughs cut-up style, the consistency of its eccentricity was very pleasing.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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