Serial (Bad) Weddings

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Serial (Bad) Weddings
Qu'est-ce qu'on a fait au bon dieu? poster.jpg
French theatrical release poster
Directed by Philippe de Chauveron
Produced by Romain Rojtman
Written by Philippe de Chauveron
Guy Laurent
Screenplay by Philippe de Chauveron
Guy Laurent
Starring
Music by Marc Chouarain
Cinematography Vincent Mathias
Edited by Sandro Lavezzi
Production
company
Les films du 24
Distributed by UGC Distribution
Release date
  • 16 April 2014 (2014-04-16) (France)
Running time
97 minutes
Country France
Language French
Budget €12.8 million[1]
($17.5 million)
Box office $174.1 million[2]

Serial (Bad) Weddings (French: Qu'est-ce qu'on a fait au Bon Dieu?) is a French comedy film directed by Philippe de Chauveron released in 2014.

Plot[edit]

Claude Verneuil, a Gaullist notary, and his wife Marie, a Catholic bourgeois from Chinon, are parents of four daughters: Isabelle, Odile, Ségolène, and Laure. The three eldest are already married to men, each one of a different religion and a different ethnic origin: Isabelle married Rashid Ben Assem, an Algerian Muslim lawyer, Odile married David Benichou, a Sephardi Jew entrepreneur, and Ségolène married Chao Ling, a Han Chinese banker who is open to all religious beliefs. The Verneuils pretend to accept their sons-in-law but have had a hard time hiding their discomfort at accepting people into the family from outside the community. A family meeting is spoiled because of the awkwardness and clichés about race and religion, expressed as much by the father as by the sons-in-law who even exchange insulting communitarian views to and about each other.

The Verneuils, in despair, put all their hope in their youngest daughter Laure, that she will bring home a Catholic partner, going so far as to arrange an "accidental" meeting with Xavier, a young Catholic man who works in finance. However, Laure reveals that she had already chosen a partner named Charles Kofi, and wishes to marry him. Laure's parents are overjoyed and readily forgive his occupation as a comedian and actor. On the first meeting, however, they are shocked when they discover that the man to whom their daughter is engaged is a West African from the Ivory Coast. Claude begins to sink into depression and spends his time cutting down trees and fishing. Meanwhile, the three sons-in-law get together and plan to stop Laure's marriage out of fear that their friendship will be threatened by a fourth member.

When the Verneuils meet with the Kofis, Marie and Charles' mother Madeline get along well, but Claude finds that Charles' father André is an intolerant, tough, stingy military man and extremely resentful of the former white colonisation and white nationalism in Africa. Both the groom's and bride's party come head to head and the fathers' disapproval and racist views heat up the situation. On the day before the wedding, André goes out with Claude fishing and unexpectedly find common ground in their dislikes, as both are Gaullists (Charles de Gaulle), and develop a friendship. After catching a large pike, the two go to a restaurant, get drunk with wine and are arrested at a pâtisserie after saying racist comments. Laure is notably upset at this and boards a train, deciding to end the marriage; André and Claude catch the train and persuade Laure to marry Charles. Laure agrees and the film ends with a happy marriage and a night of the family dancing coupé-décalé.

Cast[edit]

Cast members at the Cannes in 2014

Production[edit]

Although set in Chinon, the film was mainly filmed in Paris and in Normandy. A few shots of the castle in Chinon were taken on 10 December 2013.[3]

Reception[edit]

Frédérique Bel and Élodie Fontan at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival.

Critical response[edit]

In France, the film received positive reviews with an average grade of 4.2/5 from AlloCiné from over 9,200 votes on May 30, 2014[4] as well as press critics giving the film an average grade of 3.7/5 from 7 reviews.[4] Le Figaro called it a "triumph," "a phenomenon" and "hilarious."[5]

However, in Britain and the US the film was very poorly received. The National Post stated that the film's humor failed because "it sometimes strays across the good-taste divide and into actual racist remarks, played straight. Secondly (and far more importantly in a comedy) it often isn’t funny at all."[6] Variety magazine adds that the film has been criticized for "perpetuating racist stereotypes and feeding into France's ambient xenophobia."[7] According to The Hollywood Reporter, "the majority of the jokes are extremely heavy-handed – the Jew calls the Arab 'Arafat' and then is karate-chopped by the Asian."[8]

Because of the film's controversial content, it had little global distribution. The Telegraph reported that, "British and American cinema-goers will not get to see a hugely popular French comedy because it has been rejected by film distributors who deem it politically incorrect and possibly racist."[7]

Box office[edit]

The film attracted over 200,000 viewers in 621 cinemas on the first day. The film received the "Label des spectateurs UGC" two months before its release.[9] Other French successes such as The Intouchables and The Artist have also received this award. The film grossed a total of US$174.1 million internationally.[2] In France, the film had 13.2 million admissions, making it a large commercial success.[10]

Country Viewers
France 12,353,181
Germany 3,769,180
Spain 1,056,000
Switzerland 494,542
Belgium 420,000
Austria 393,000
Italia 356,425
South Korea 190,384
Canada 152,000
Greece 126,000
Poland 100,000
TOTAL (world) 19,804,298

In Other Media[edit]

One of the tracks from the film (Fatima) is one of the tracks in Just Dance 2015.

Sequel[edit]

In february 2017 a sequel was confirmed for a release in France in 2018.[11][12]

Accolades[edit]

Award / Film Festival Category Recipients and nominees Result
28th European Film Awards European Film Academy People's Choice Award for Best European Film Serial (Bad) Weddings Nominated
29th Goya Awards Best European Film Serial (Bad) Weddings Nominated
20th Lumières Awards Best Screenplay Philippe de Chauveron and Guy Laurent Won

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]