a film by Olivier Ducastel and Jacques Martineau
2000 | 91 mins | France
›› Drôle de Félix - Funny Felix - aka The Adventures of Felix
a joyous depiction of living life the positive way
Drôle de Félix by Olivier Ducastel and Jacques Martineau Welcome to the world of Félix; positive both in terms of his HIV status and his view to life. Only such ingrained optimism is to be put to the test upon the death of his mother and subsequent loss of employment at the local ferry port. Stumbling across a letter detailing the address of the father he never knew, Félix characteristically turns the situation around and in agreeing to meet his partner Daniel (Pierre-Loup Rajot) in Marseilles five days later, seizes the opportunity to set out on a journey of paternal discovery, armed with only a few clothes, his medication, a kite and that all important song in your heart.

For this is a road trip - rural France style! One that in typical cinematic fashion becomes more important than the reason for the quest itself, as Félix's desire to meet a man who has never shown any interest in meeting him, is countered by a family of strangers who he meets along lifes path. These include his 'cousin' (Philippe Garziano) who he gets to know intimately well, his 'sister' Isabelle (Ariane Ascaride) and her carload of children and that of his fisherman 'father' (Maurice Bénichou). Yet of particular pleasure are the segments in which Félix meets his 'little brother' Jules (Charly Sergue) who looks up to him with the eyes of a gay teenager experiencing his first crush, coupled with the moving sequence in which Félix is welcomed by his 'grandmother,' a lady who clearly holds deep affection for her newfound 'grandson.'

Drôle de Félix by Olivier Ducastel and Jacques Martineau As ever, noted French actress Patachou is outstanding as the loving grandmother of the piece and yet it is Sami Bouajila as Félix who holds this work together, in a performance that is as bright and breezy as the film itself. All of which makes the decision to add an element of violence to the narrative, an all the more unnecessary move, given the characters and that of their episodic stories are more than sufficient to delight, courtesy of a script that is laced with scenes of tenderness, sexual question marks over the nature of Félix's relationship with his partner and the odd bit of male nudity too.

For this is a film in which the themes of homosexuality and HIV are but a backdrop to the real story, namely enjoying life to the full regardless of whatever your personal circumstances are. And it is that, together with Felix's infectious smile that will stay with you long after the end credits have rolled, as this joyous tale reminds you that the simple things in life, are what makes it worth living joie du vie style. In short, this is a beautifully told story of living life the positive way!
screened as part of the Manchester Queer Up North Film Festival 2000
available on DVD as part of the Peccadillo Pictures catalogue
starring: Sami Bouajila, Pierre-Loup Rajot, Patachou, Ariane Ascaride, Charly Sergue, Maurice Bénichou,
Philippe Garziano, Didier Mahieu, Arno Feffer, Clément Dupré,
Clément Révérend, Daniel Lesur
Copyright 2007 David Hall - www.gaycelluloid.com.
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