REVIEW: Goliath: Dirty tactics, word play, and misinformation abound

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Goliath, directed by Frédéric Tellier, made its world premiere in Sydney at the Alliance Française French Film Festival, even before it was released in French cinemas a week or so later, on 9 March 2022.

Goliath

Inspired by, but not strictly based on, a true story, Goliath is a film about residents of a rural town fighting a mega agricultural manufacturer of a pesticide they believe is responsible for cancers and deaths among their own. Enter Patrick (Giles Lellouche, also showing in Farewell, Mr. Haffmann at AFFFF 2022), a lawyer fighting to prove not only the link but that the company knows their product is carcinogenic. It’s an uphill battle as lobbyists, such as Matthias (Pierre Niney, also in OSS 117: From Africa with Love in this year’s AFFFF and Black Box from AFFFF 2021), engage in dirty tactics, cleverly worded speeches and campaigns of misinformation. Director Frédéric Tellier has worked with Pierre Niney before on previous AFFFF film Through the Fire (Sauver ou Périr).

 

A desperate and drastic act by one of the group drives France (Emmanuelle Bercot, Happy Birthday, AFFFF20), a sports teacher by day and factory worker by night, to take action. She’s personally affected as she sees her partner Zef’s lymphoma return and points to pesticide Tetrazine as the cause.

 

Bubbling along in the background is agricultural company PhytoSanis’ concern that its licence to sell its product won’t be renewed in the coming months. Lobbyists engage heavily in misinformation campaigns – this product is far less dangerous than the lollies you give your child and yet they’re not banned – and schmoozing important officials in their attempt to get the vote across the line.

Goliath is not a courtroom David and Goliath drama but a personal one. The battle takes place in the village where France lives and also for Patrick, trying to find someone willing to speak or information to prove that the product is carcinogenic finds himself increasingly under threat by a company that is determined to keep its product on the market.

 

Images of France’s family dealing with the fallout of the pesticide are juxtaposed with images of lobbyist Patrick’s happy family. His heavily pregnant partner stands holding her belly as he talks to her about the difficulties and increasing pressure he is experiencing at work in the lead-up to the European Commission vote to renew or disapprove a new licence to the agricultural company.

 

Both male leads in Goliath were nominated for best actor at the César Awards and deservingly so. Pierre Niney played lobbyist Matthias so well that I despised him from very early on. Giles Lellouche for his role as Patrick, the criminal lawyer turned environmental lawyer. Unfortunately, neither Niney nor Lellouche won the César for Best Actor. Ultimately, it went to Benoît Magimel for Peaceful (another film showing at the AFFFF 2022).

Goliath

While not nominated for a César for Goliath, Emmanuelle Bercot also deserves mention as the desperate France, willing to do anything to see the company made responsible.

 

Goliath is a well-written and superbly acted film which sheds light on the unethical, dirty tactics of lobbyists while at the same time highlighting the strength and determination of others.

4 CROISSANTS

Matilda Marseillaise was given access to a digital screener of this film for this review.

 

Find out when Goliath is showing in your city, via this link

 

READ OUR REVIEWS OF OTHER FILMS AT THE ALLIANCE FRANCAISE FRENCH FILM FESTIVAL

REVIEW: Fly Me Away – a predictable feel-good film

REVIEW: OSS 117: From Africa with Love – Jean Dujardin and Pierre Niney on screen together is a delight

REVIEW: The Braves: a film about the strength of friendship

REVIEW: Paul W.R’s Last Journey: an apocalyptic, vibrant sci-fi fantasy

Love Songs for Tough Guys: a comedy about ageing gang members getting in touch with their softer sides

A Tale of Love and Desire: an exploration of religious and gender expectations in Paris

 

KEY INFO FOR ALLIANCE FRANÇAISE FRENCH FILM FESTIVAL 2022

WHAT: Alliance Française French Film Festival

WHERE AND WHEN:

  • Adelaide: 24thMarch to 24th April (Encore screenings: 25th to 26th April)
  • Brisbane: 16thMarch to 13th April (Encore screenings: 14th to 18th April)
  • Byron Bay: 30thMarch to 14th April (Encore screenings: 15th to 16th April)
  • Hobart: 9thto 20th March
  • Canberra: 2nd March to 6th April (Encore screenings: 7th to 10th April)
  • Melbourne: 3rd March to 6th April (Encore screenings: 7th to 10th April)
  • Parramatta: 7thto 10th April
  • Perth: 9th March to 6th April (Encore screenings: 7th to 10th April)
  • Sydney: 1stMarch to 6th April (Encore screenings: 7th to 10th April)

HOW: Discover the AFFFF 2022 programme here.

 

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REVIEW: Fly Me Away – a predictable feel-good film

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Fly Me Away (Envole-moi) is currently showing at the Alliance Française French Film Festival around Australia. It is a feel-good film adapted and produced by Christope Barratier, whose earliest work was the very popular documentary, Microcosmos released in 1996. Barratier was also writer and director of War of the Buttons, which screened at the AFFFF a few years ago.

Fly Me Away

In the opening scene, a drunk Thomas (Victor Belmondo) crashes his car through the garage and straight into his father’s pool. His laissez-faire, careless attitude is summed up by him saying “t’inquietes, on rangerait ca demain” (don’t worry we’ll fix it tomorrow) like it’s no big deal.

 

Fly Me Away sees irresponsible 30 something Thomas forced to spend his days with 12 year old chronically and severely ill, Marcus (Yoann Eloundou) or be cut off financially and kicked out of the house he shares with his father, Doctor Henri Reinhard (Gérard Lanvin).

 

Predictably, Thomas shows up late the first few times and forgets important information (like keeping Marcus’s oxygen tank with him at all times) but before long he is enriching young Marcus’ life and perhaps learning there’s more to life than drinking, clubbing and picking up a different girl every night. While they cross off Marcus’ bucket list, we begin to see Thomas isn’t entirely self-centred and has the capacity to think of others. That said, there were times when showering Marcus with gifts and experiences seemed a little like charity rather than genuine.

Envole-moi

This was Yoann Eloundou’s first feature film role and he played it well. Unfortunately, Victor Belmondo, grandson of Jean-Paul Belmondo, in the role of Thomas, looked strained when he was meant to be appearing concerned. This is the first time I have seen him in a film and he certainly doesn’t appear to have his grandfather’s talent based on his performance in Fly Me Away. Gérard Lanvin was convincing as the frustrated father and concerned doctor.  Marie-Sohna Condé was great in the role of Marcus’ concerned, sad mother.

 

Unfortunately, Fly Me Away was predictable and a bit clichéd. What had the potential to be a great film is instead an average one. Privileged/spoilt man meets an adult/child who is disabled/sick/underprivileged. It’s all be done before and unfortunately Barratier did not put a fresh spin on it. Fly Me Away is an easy watching, feel good film, which doesn’t require much thinking. It is punctuated with moments of comedy (particularly pranks played on the nosy neighbour), and is heart-warming, but is not the must-see film at the Alliance Française French Film Festival 2022.

3 CROISSANTS

Matilda Marseillaise was given access to a screener of this film for this review.

 

READ OUR REVIEWS OF OTHER FILMS AT THE ALLIANCE FRANCAISE FRENCH FILM FESTIVAL

REVIEW: OSS 117: From Africa with Love – Jean Dujardin and Pierre Niney on screen together is a delight

REVIEW: The Braves: a film about the strength of friendship

REVIEW: Paul W.R’s Last Journey: an apocalyptic, vibrant sci-fi fantasy

Love Songs for Tough Guys: a comedy about ageing gang members getting in touch with their softer sides

A Tale of Love and Desire: an exploration of religious and gender expectations in Paris

 

KEY INFO FOR ALLIANCE FRANÇAISE FRENCH FILM FESTIVAL 2022

WHAT: Alliance Française French Film Festival

WHERE AND WHEN:

  • Adelaide: 24thMarch to 24th April (Encore screenings: 25th to 26th April)
  • Brisbane: 16thMarch to 13th April (Encore screenings: 14th to 18th April)
  • Byron Bay: 30thMarch to 14th April (Encore screenings: 15th to 16th April)
  • Hobart: 9thto 20th March
  • Canberra: 2nd March to 6th April (Encore screenings: 7th to 10th April)
  • Melbourne: 3rd March to 6th April (Encore screenings: 7th to 10th April)
  • Parramatta: 7thto 10th April
  • Perth: 9th March to 6th April (Encore screenings: 7th to 10th April)
  • Sydney: 1stMarch to 6th April (Encore screenings: 7th to 10th April)

HOW: Discover the AFFFF 2022 programme here.

 

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