Le Marquis’ Absurdity Opens French Film Fest

Le Marquis is screening for free at Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza from June 8-19 as part of the French Film Fest 2011

Written by

Jude Thaddeus L. Bautista

Quentin (Richard Berry) and Thomas (Franck Dubosc) were wearing fake airline pilot uniforms and got into an elevator. A real pilot walks in and happens to ask their names. Thomas says with a straight face, “My name is Kirk…Captain Kirk.” The real pilot still fails to see the Star Trek reference and seriously asks the name of Quentin. Thomas adds, “Oh he’s Spock!” Quentin nearly slaps Thomas. Instead as soon as the doors open they bolt out of the elevator running. It was part of their planned escape from their captors. They run through the airport until they feel they’ve distanced themselves. In the next corner they are unaware of the muscular scary looking man and his partner looking at them suspiciously. Eventually, their wild explanation is a cause of both confusion and humor to their captors and audiences.

The scene was shot at the Cebu airport and is part of the French and Filipino co production ‘Le Marquis’. The Marquis opened the French Film festival running in Shang Cineplex atShangRilaPlazafrom June 9 to 18, 2011. In attendance of the premiere were French Ambassador Thierry Borja de Mozota and Shang Rila Plaza Finance Manager Tess Durante. And fresh from his participation of theCannesfilm festival for the film “Busong”, Aureus Solito was part of the ribbon cutting ceremony. Two previous Filipino Cannes participants: Brillante Mendoza and Raya Martin were also in attendance of the French film fest opening.

French Film fest opening From left: French Audio Visual Attaché Martin Macalintal, Axantis Productions Head Louis Paul Heussaff, Shang Rila Financial Mgr. Tess Durante, Amb of France Thierry Borja de Mozota, Pinoy Cannes directors Aureus Solito and Brillante Mendoza. Photo was taken during the French Film Festival opening at Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza Mall last June 8, 2011. Photo by Jude Bautista

As part of the fest, a retrospective of Aureus Solito’s work and a short film of Raya Martin will also be screened on June 12, 2011 also at Shang Cineplex. Solito’s film “Busong” is part of this year’s Director’s Showcase category in Cinemalaya film fest from July 16-24 at theCulturalCenterof thePhilippines.

Solito said of ‘Le Marquis’, “The humor is something that Filipino movie goers will be able to get and appreciate. Thomas (Franck Dubosc) actually reminds me of Dolphy. Their styles are very similar with physical comedy and facial expressions.” Entrance is free of charge on a first come first served basis for all films in the fest. Dubosc is white haired, ruddy faced and is too nerdy looking to be convincing as a criminal mastermind. In one scene Thomas almost becomes a mime as he explains his complex scheme for the heist to Jo (Jean-Hugues Anglade). It becomes a hilarious form of charades as he tries to convince Jo of the viability of the plan. His partner Quentin played by Richard Berry has the same light beard and grey hair of another famous French actor, Jean Renoit (Pink Panther). Quentin in this film is the straight guy of the duo.

Quentin Tasseau (Richard Berry) is a chronically inept career criminal whose failure has gotten him to trouble with the mob. In a desperate scheme to save himself, he recruits a famous criminal mastermind Le Marquis to pull off a large heist inManila. The problem is that Thomas Gardesse (Franck Dubosc) made the claim of being Le Marquis only to avoid being raped in jail. Both of them are the worst possible choices for the job. Story wise there are quite a few holes, but usually it’s the laughs that audiences look for in a film like this.

‘Camera Café’, a TV show starring Epi Quizon also gets some screen time.  Axantis Productions is the same outfit that produced both the show and Le Marquis. Axantis President Louis Paul Heussaff raved about the support of Filipino production and technical support that helped make the film. “These days I’m more popularly known as Solenn’s father,” referring to his daughter Solenn Heussaff and female lead in GMA’s ‘Captain Barbell.’

from left: Shang Rila Financial Mgr. Tess Durante and Director Raya Martin. Photo was taken during the French Film Festival opening at Shang Cineplex, Shang Rila Plaza Mall last June 8, 2011. Photo by Jude Bautista

Key Filipino roles in the film include Joel Torre as Commandant Swat. The bright faced Kalila Aguilos plays a bank receptionist. A mysterious, scary looking, muscular and dark enforcer of the mob is named ‘Jesus.’ He may be one of those characters that director Dominique Farrugia discovered  here that was perfect for the role. Jesus hardly had any lines but had a very intimidating presence. One thing that Filipino audiences may notice is that they shot the film mostly in Cebu but is actually set inManila. A lot of the interiors were in Shang Rila Mactan Hotel, needing to show the posh lifestyle of an international criminal syndicate. The impressive pool and beach front were perfect locations for Le Marquis.

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