Land of Milk and Honey

74 minutes 2012

Inspired by the French civil unrest of May 1968, writer-director-star Pierre Etaix interrupted his string of brilliant comedies (The Suitor, Yoyo, As Long As You're Healthy, Le Grand Amour) to make this unwatchable, supposedly radical documentary (1971). His subject was the Podium Europe 1 radio holiday tour, an amateur singing competition in a seaside town, and the project spiraled out of control: he shot for three months, came home with 130,000 feet of film, and spent seven months in the editing room. A riotous opening sequence shows Etaix being attacked by film stock, which proliferates into tangled piles and spreads like the Blob; unfortunately this soon gives way to the documentary itself, an endless slog of bad cabaret performances and man-on-the-street interviews that are supposed to expose bourgeois values. What humor there is tends toward the obnoxiously smug, like quizzing people about "the new eroticism" and cutting to fat people in bathing suits. In French with subtitles.

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