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Going Places

Submitted by RickyK on October 17, 2012 – 4:19 pmNo Comment
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Los Valseuses, or Going Places as it’s called in English, will appear at the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston on October 26th. During the 1970’s when the film originally showed up in French box offices, the precocious country- like much of the western world- was swept away in revolution. Two of the countries most admired politicians, President DeGaulle and President Pompidou, who salvaged France from the destruction following WWII, had both passed away by the mid 70‘s. France, therefore, faced a deficit in political sages, opening the door for inadequate policy makers. While these former presidents breathed their last, workers took to the streets protesting as several of the countries major industries tanked. This activity is most apparent in 1973 and ’74 when the Arab oil embargo occurred, resulting in thousands of workers losing their jobs. Left without reliable leadership, the well being of France looked bleak and dismal. Young people, frightened by the very real prospect of a destructive future, strayed  from the promises and conventions of French society. Contrast to passive poverty, crime and protest became a seductive option.

Los Vaiseuses romanticizes the hooliganism several French youth used to supplement in lieu of financial and social security during the tumult of the 1970’s. Directed by Betrand Blier, the story unfolds as two wandering youths commit themselves to a squandering life of running from consequence. Jean-Claude (Gerard Depardieu) and Pierrot (Patrick Dewaere), ramble from one city to the next robbing, lying, vandalizing, and terrorizing. While it may all appear aimless and in a way, evil, the young men do own plot and direction to justify their uncouthly actions. Attacking anything that symbolizes the economic disparity and inequality, Jean-Claude and Pierrot disrupt what the bourgeois possess and the rest of France does not. Whether it be stealing a car or sexually harassing the female offspring of a bourgeoisie family, the vagabonds intend to threaten the upper class way of life by every crime and sin committed, amplifying the volatile attitude lower and working class France sustained for those hoarding capital.

Like a good 1970‘s film, Going Places, in no way lacks the sexual promiscuity and experimentation that has come to be historically tantamount to the political usurp of the time. Jean-Claude and Pierrot paths eventually intersect with a young burnt out cosmologist named Marie-Ange. More than just a lawless assistant, Marie-Angie serves as a sexual companion to the two male antagonist. Her unquenchable erotic passions drives her to trade job security for reckless adventure.

It’s interesting that this film should regain attention in America right now. A year after the height of Occupy Wall Street, and a recent surge in political interest as we approach a paramount election, prove the discord of the American heart- especially among younger citizens. Like Jean-Claude and Pierrot, young adults are asking themselves what the point is of following conventions when the answer shows up as nothing more than a lofty and empty promise. Why attend school in hopes of achieving a good career when there are no jobs to pay off a life sum of debt? Why get married when the chances of failure hover at 50 percent? Why work hard to climb the corporate ladder when the rungs have been axed by those who climbed it before you? Most of all, why work a dead end job that makes you hate yourself and everyone when you could be rioting against the corrupt bastards who rigged the game against the majority in the first place? It isn’t a coincidence that Going Places is being screened in Houston this weekend.

The Museum of Fin Arts is located at 1001 Bissonnet St. The film will show on Friday the 26th, 7 pm. Tickets are $7, and are also on sale for the same price at http://www.mfah.org/films/tickets/.

As I’m sure you’ve figured by now, Going Places is for mature audiences only. Unless you plan on giving the “birds and the bees” talk prematurely, it’s best you get a babysitter for the night.

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