|The Frankfurt-Tipp rating:|
|Original title:||La vache|
|Production country:||Frankreich/Marokko 2016|
|Running time:||Approx. 92 min.|
For a long time, Algerian farmer Fatah (Fatsah Bouyahmed) has dreamed of travelling to the great agricultural fair in Paris once in his life to show off his cow Jacqueline, which is his pride and joy. For a long time it looked as if this would only remain a dream. But then Fatah actually receives an invitation from France to take part in the fair. The whole village stands behind Fatah and finances his passage to Marseille. From there Fatah wants to cover the remaining distance on foot. He meets emerging resistance with his boundless optimism, which also infects the people he meets on his long journey. Then, when television takes notice of the unusual story of the farmer and his cow, events take an unexpected turn.
With his second feature film, On the Road with Jacqueline, director Mohamed Hamidi has staged a charming piece of feel-good cinema. His ode to cosmopolitanism and joie de vivre may seem a little naïve and almost fairytale-like here and there. But the film is not a documentary, after all, but a comedy that is not meant to depict reality, but to allow the audience to escape from it for a few moments. And Hamidi does that very well with this light-footed road movie. His protagonist, played by popular French comedian Fatsah Bouyahmed, is extremely likeable. Even though he comes across as a bit of an effort at times, you just can't stay mad at him for long. This also helps the film overcome some dramaturgical weaknesses and makes it a great pleasure.
In the second half of the film, however, a few lengths come up despite the rather short running time. The somewhat forced plotline involving Philippe (Lambert Wilson), a nobleman facing bankruptcy, who gains a slightly different perspective on his own life situation through his encounter with the simple peasant from Algeria, slows down the story's inherently coherent pace a bit here and there. In itself, this part of the film is really nice, but since it isn't given enough time to fully develop, the whole thing comes across as an episode that's ticked off too quickly. This is a pity, because Fatah and Philippe make an interesting and well harmonizing couple, of which one would have liked to see a bit more.
This is admittedly only a small shortcoming in a film that is really successful in itself. If you like charming French art house comedies and want to get a good dose of joie de vivre in the cinema, you can definitely recommend a walk through France with Fatah and Jacqueline. Worth seeing
An article by Frankfurt-Tipp