Danny Boon follows up his phenomenally popular Welcome to the Sticks with another hit comedy about parochial prejudice: when the EU dissolves the borders it can’t dissolve the rivalry between French and Belgian customs officers.
Screened as part of NZIFF 2011
Proceeding from his observation that racism appears especially stupid when the antagonists look alike and speak (more or less) the same language, he forges farce from the age-old stand-off between salt-of-the-earth Belgians and their supercilious neighbours in the large republic to the south-west. It’s 1992 and small-town Belgian customs officer Ruben (Benoît Poelvoorde) is melting down at the prospect of the Common Market dissolving the border. No longer will he be paid to insult any escargot-muncher rash enough to venture into his Kingdom. Even worse, he’s about to be teamed up with his French equivalent (Boon) in an EU drug squad. Need it be added that the wily Frenchman has a yen for Ruben’s lovely young sister? Broad, energetic and zestily performed, Boon’s comedy kids beleaguered nationalist sensibilities either side of the border. It is a hit in both countries too. — BG