Monday, March 18, 2013

Watching & recounting Ivorian movie, "Le Mec Ideal" (review)

Last Sunday, I blocked out some time to go see a couple of movies as part of the very first Francophone Film Festival in Accra. I aim to befriend more Francophone people living in Ghana, I have already befriended a number of belles and I really have to visit a French-speaking country this year. Since we have 3 surrounding Ghana - Burkina Faso, Togo and Ivory Coast, that should not be difficult. The first movie I saw at the film festival is one called "Le Mec Ideal", an Ivorian movie directed by Orwell Brown. It's a romantic comedy. The other I saw was called "Yeelen", a Malian movie. That movie was deep, I need another screening to dig deeper into that. Let's stick with "The Perfect Guy" movie for now.
I had heard about "Le Mec Ideal" during the time I was so keen to go to FESPACO in Ouagadougou. FESPACO, the premier African movie festival was ongoing in the former Upper Volta, and I was keen to cross all the Volta rivers to be there the following weekend to watch great African films and meet film makers. I didn't go eventually but I made peace with myself since I had seen some of the movies that would be shown there, had work to do and expected to visit later. My friend Peace had been giving me some info on FESPACO and she told me though she didn't participate in it fully, she bought the movie, "Le Mec Ideal". Luckily, I was with an Ivorian lady then and I asked her about the film. She explained what the story was to me. Little did I know this movie would feature amongst the Accra Francophone Film Festival. This movie won third place at 2011's FESPACO.

"Le Mec Ideal" is a romantic comedy. And funny it was. The audience was having a great time laughing along. "Je parle Francais en peut", but I wasn't left out because the movie had subtitles. The story is simple. A beautiful lady ends up seeing two guys who know each other but dunno they are seeing the same girl. They end up scheming to outwit each other and yes, one guy wins in the end. They are different though, and the ideal man (according to the lady in the movie and not you) is chosen. Very simple story and script, but the way the movie is delivered makes it a collectible.

1 thing I also notice about movies are the soundtracks. Hearing a coupe decale song in an Ivorian movie made me really happy for some reason. And it was played at an appropriate time. Ghanaian movies took too long to have better soundtracks and a marriage of music with cinema. I didn't notice any particular zouk songs in the movie. It was a romantic comedy alright but wasn't too lovey-dovey. I wonder though, what songs are on the playlists for Ivorian weddings? Ce n'est pas zouklove? :-)

This was such a funny line. The poorer guy was trying to impress the leading lady but given the prices of the food, he opted for something cheap. Cheap turned into regretful. Vegetarian pizzas in Abidjan must be really spicy cos Marcus couldn't handle the hotness of the food but the hotness of Estelle made it all worth it. The movie was full of funny lines, antics and settings. There was a 'casting' that the leading ladies' friends organized for her to choose her boyfriend. You can't laugh!

I picked out this line intentionally. The notion is that Francophone Africans are more romantic and lovey-dovey. It's normal for a Francophone guy to meet a lady and kiss her hand or kiss on the cheek. Francophone ladies would kiss you on the cheek or forehead without any feelings involved. So all of this is ok, isn't it? The leading lady in the movie is hot! And pleasant. She's a metisse. A metisse is a half-caste. Francophone women are .... tres belle. I realise that many Francophone women have piercings near their lips, on their tongues etc, like Emma Lohoues has. This was confirmed by my friend Peace. I'd like to know how this phenomenon spread amongst Francophone women though.

Eventually, I started paying more attention to the costumes in the movies, the settings, the buildings, etc. I've never been to Abidjan before but I understand the infrastructure level there is pretty good. I was looking out for that. The older women wore traditional dresses close to what we have in Ghana and Estelle was caught wearing one of those 'inscriptive' tees Ghanaian ladies wear (Always Smile). Marcus, seemingly, the "rascal", had his hair braided while Billy, the "reformed" guy dressed smartly. I liked the way the scenes also changed in the movie, there was none of that "wasting time playing music and showing one long scene" scenes that we've become accustomed to in Ghanaian and Nigerian movies.

The Asec Mimosas scene was really welcome. Ivory Coast has become known for its soccer stars and it was a good touch to weave in a national treasure like Asec Mimosas into the script too. I only had the benefit of sub-titles, but with my little French, I could recognize some lines. I thought the dialogue was rich. There were a couple of mistakes in the subtitling, including spelling mistakes which should really not happen at this level for movies going to film festivals and all. They were a couple of "Yes" and "Okay" statements as well. I don't doubt that simple English words like this have become part and parcel of Ivorian conversations.

I thoroughly enjoyed this movie. The earlier scenes were really funny and memorable and the swift focus onto the three leading characters in the film didn't loose it of its humor. The acting wasn't top notch though and the story obviously didn't seem to have a lot of thought in it. However, romantic comedy scripts are tried and tested and I think "Le Mec Ideal" was delivered well. A good well-hearted story with a happy ending with a twist of crazy. And did I say the leading lady is hot? :-) She was at FESPACO 2013! Missed opportunity. But wait, she even dances #azonto o
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