Microbe and Gasoline

What a great choice for a group of French students from Seattle Academy as their first exposure to the 2016 Seattle International Film Festival. "Microbe et Gasoil" (English captions) is writer/director Michael Gondry's latest, most charming French entry about two teenage boys who are too clever to fit in. This review was first published in May, 2016, so some of you have seen it before.

If you have followed Gondry's career, you already know cinema is his playground; "Mood Indigo," "Be Kind Rewind," "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Soul," are just a few of his inimitable films. This latest one has much less whimsy and far more heart!

Once again he has assembled a terrific cast for his earnest examination of teenage friendship.

His cast:
  • Douglas Brosset is Oscar, an undersized teenager nicknamed "Microbe." He is an artist and of course he is misunderstood, overlooked and teased.
  • Audrey Tautou is Marie-Thérèse, his depressed mother.
  • Ange Dargent is Daniel, his older brother, who unexpectedly loans Oscar his GPS.
  • Theophile Baquet plays Theo, the audacious newcomer who is smart, inventive, resourceful (and misunderstood). This handsome charmer can build all sorts of things out of scrap, including the perfect use for a two-stroke gasoline engine, hence his nickname, "Gasoil."
  • Diane Besnier brings us Laura, the lovely girl of Oscar's dreams.
This wonderful film captures perfectly an adolescent boy's need for adventure and excitement. Our two young heroes decide to take off for the summer in a homemade house on wheels. They tell each other ghost stories, engage in philosophical arguments, and flirt with disaster more than once. Watch two cops take a selfie beside that geranium-bedecked window. And see how Oscar gets a Samurai haircut in a Korean whorehouse...

This one is satisfying on so many levels I won't try to list them. This is R-rated because it is European, with a little different sensibility from what we construe as acceptable for our teenagers. More's the pity. I loved it!
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