Un indien dans la ville
|Un indien dans la ville|
|Directed by||Hervé Palud|
|Produced by||Thierry Lhermitte|
|Written by||Hervé Palud|
|Music by||Tonton David|
|Edited by||Roland Baubeau|
Buena Vista Pictures DistributionUSA
December 14, 1994
|Box office||$70.5 million|
Steph, a commodities broker living in Paris, wants a divorce from his wife Patricia to marry another woman: Charlotte. However, Patricia has been living among the French Guiana Amazonas Indians for the past 13 years, so Steph travels to the Indian village to meet her and ask her to sign the divorce papers.
When they meet, Patricia tells Steph that they have a teenage son, Mimi-Siku, who has been raised as an Amazonas Indian. Patricia tells Steph she will not sign the divorce papers unless Steph takes Mimi-Siku on a visit to Paris, which he agrees to. In Paris, Mimi-Siku meets the children of Steph's colleague Richard and falls in love with his daughter Sophie.
Shortly after its release in France in December 1994, Disney saw this film as a possibility to attract a family audience in the United States and considered giving it a limited release in select cities. Before releasing it in select cities Disney decided to release it under their Touchstone Pictures label as they felt this film had some mature themes for an ordinary Disney film.
As opposed to releasing it in the United States with subtitles leaving the original French dialogue in, Disney hired many cartoon voice-over actors to dub the original French dialogue out and substitute it with an English language format. They also gave the film an American name, Little Indian, Big City. Under its new Americanized title and language dubbing, Touchstone finally released it to a select American audience on March 22, 1996.
Critical reception and box office
Upon its original American release many American critics had an extremely harsh reaction to the film. Roger Ebert awarded Little Indian, Big City a rare "Zero Stars" rating and called it one of the worst films ever made claiming that he was annoyed by the awful dubbing as well as the writing and what he perceived as terrible humor. He ended his original Chicago Sun Times newspaper review by saying "If you under any circumstances see Little Indian, Big City I will never let you read one of my reviews again". Ebert's colleague Gene Siskel also deplored the film saying that it was likely to be a candidate for the year's (or any year's) worst film. He also said that if the word for the film got big enough in the United States family audiences would have been "hoodwinked into paying to see a totally unprofessional movie." When Siskel and Ebert viewed the film during its original theatrical release, one of the film reels broke out and the third reel of film was missing. A film executive informed Siskel and Ebert that they were allowed to come back the following week and view the particular reel. Siskel and Ebert came back to view the third reel, and by the time they had concluded viewing the whole film Siskel was quoted as saying, "If it was the legendary missing footage from The Magnificent Ambersons, this movie would still suck." Both Siskel and Ebert later went on to claim this as one of the worst motion pictures they had ever seen (though it's not on Ebert's "Most Hated Films" list), and in January 1997, on Siskel and Ebert's "Worst of the Year" program for 1996, Ebert went on to call "Little Indian, Big City" the second worst film of the year, just behind Mad Dog Time.
Peter Stack of the San Francisco Chronicle said that the dub "lends tackiness to an already inept comedy." A critic from the rival San Francisco Examiner newspaper stated that "the real trouble with this movie is that it isn't even funny. As directed by Herve Palud and written by Palud and Igor Aptekman, it's a feathery thing that does not show off Lhermitte's considerable allure and gifts as a comic. In this movie, he looks like a dope whose mouth is moving in a distinctly French manner, inexplicably spouting the words of some uninspired American goof." Janet Maslin of The New York Times further brutalized the production: "Whatever may have been funny - possibly nothing - about the popular French comedy [...] American audiences can watch it vanish before their eyes. This film has been dubbed into English so dreadfully that it becomes a discordant horror. Though the actors, including Thierry Lhermitte, Arielle Dombasle and Miou Miou, show faint visual signs of gentleness and civility, they now have now become crassly Americanized boors on the film's painful audio track." James Berardinelli opened his review with a paragraph which read, "Little Indian, Big City, the American name given to Herve Palud's 1995 French fish-out-of-water comedy, L'Indian dans la Ville, is easily one of the most tedious viewing experiences of 1996. I came as close to walking out of this movie as anything I have ever watched. No one, no matter how desperate they are for family entertainment, should be subjected to the indignity of sitting through this ninety-minute excuse for a motion picture."
As of today, Rotten Tomatoes gives this film a score of 13% based on 8 reviews.
It was later released on home video under the VHS format in early 1997 and was re-issued one other time on VHS in mid-1998. The film has not been released on DVD or any other video formats in the United States.
- Thierry Lhermitte as Stéphane Marchadot
- Patrick Timsit as Richard Montignac
- Ludwig Briand as Mimi-Siku
- Miou-Miou as Patricia Marchadot
- Arielle Dombasle as Charlotte
- Tolsty as Pavel
- Sonia Vollereaux as Marie
- Jackie Berroyer as Lawyer Joanovici
- Marc de Jonge as Rossberg
- Louba Guertchikoff as Mrs. Godette
- Philippe Bruneau as Mr. Maréchal
- Dominique Besnehard as Maître Dong
- Cheik Doukouré as Mr. Bonaventure
- Marie-Charlotte Leclaire as Rossberg's Secretary
- Olga Jirouskova as Sonia Koutchnoukov
- Chick Ortega as Russian
- Paco Portero as The Snake Man
- Sonia Lezinska as Stewardess
- Marc Brunet as Policeman
- Olivier Hémon as Policeman
- Thierry Desroses as Customs Officer
- Katja Weitzenböck as Miss Van Hodden
- Pauline Pinsolle as Sophie Montignac
- Stanley Zana as Jonathan
- Gaston Dolle as Benjamin
Official Comic Book
- Title MIMI SIKU - UN INDIEN DANS LA VILLE
- Author Hervé Palud - Vincent Deporter - Judith Rucar
- Publisher Glénat, 1994
- ISBN 2-7234-1831-6, ISBN 978-2-7234-1831-7
Notes and references
- Un Indien dans la Ville (An Indian in the City) (Little Indian, Big City), retrieved 2018-03-10