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Camping sauvage
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by Jason Whyte

"A lot of Quebec fun...without the poutine."
4 stars

What’s interesting about Quebec is how its film industry separates itself from the rest of Canada. We live in a day and age where the typical Canadian film features a story that looks, feels and acts cheap and manufactured, whereas some of the comedies and dramas that come out of Quebec feature real stories and real characters…and in the case of “Camping sauvage”, something completely out of left field but works and works well.

A serious, sentence-correcting stockbroker named Pierre-Louis Cinq-Mars (Guy A. Lepage, one of the film’s three directors) witnesses a rather bad police incident and enters the witness protection program. Pierre finds himself now known as Marcel Paquette, leading to a trailer camping park named Camping Pigeon. with endless bizarre characters, the most notable being Jackie (Sylvie Moreau) who owns the camp and becomes quickly attracted to Pierre; their meet cute involves not only sentence-correcting but discussing stock-trading! Meanwhile, Pierre gets wrapped up in the odd-as-kilt Wanna-Bees club (where their signature slogan is buzzing like a bee, of course) as outside people are on the lookout for him and the love relationship blossoms inside of a trailer which is just a bit on the shaky side.

All of this sounds like wacky stuff, but the humor is simply adult-oriented and out there. The film even opens with titles that state that some of Quebec’s biggest actors do NOT appear in this film, such as Pascale Bussaires or Marie-Josee Croze. From then on, the film mixes different filming stocks, sepia tones and camera speeds to create a visually interesting world. And it all works.

I also must mention a brave canine in the film who is willing to chase doggie treats by jumping down a well (and coming across an underground operation in the process). After all of the movies I’ve seen year after year, I will still admire something that I haven’t seen before, no matter how good or bad the whole is. Thankfully, this film is the former.

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originally posted: 09/23/04 17:26:16
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 Vancouver Film Festival. For more in the 2004 Vancouver Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

10/02/07 Karine Very funny, great soundtrack 4 stars
10/01/04 Ninja Sheldon Some things were funny, some were not. Slapstick, puns, and situation comedy. 3 stars
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