CinéSalon: STRUGGLE FOR LIFE (LA LOI DE LA JUNGLE) (Antonin Peretjatko, 2016)
French Institute Alliance Française, Florence Gould Hall
55 East 59th St. between Madison & Park Aves.
Tuesday, May 9, $14, 4:00 & 7:30 ($3 for interns at 7:30 with code INSIDE)
Series continues Tuesday nights through May 30
“Vines . . . are like internships,” Ulrich (Pascal Tagnati) tells Marc Châtaigne (Vincent Macaigne) in Antonin Peretjatko’s madcap colonialist farce, Struggle for Life. “Don’t drop one till you got another.” Nothing ever goes right for middle-aged schlemiel Châtaigne, who has been assigned by Rosio (Jean-Luc Bideau) of the Ministry of Standards to oversee the construction of an indoor ski resort in the jungles of Guiana; Guia-Snow, Rosio explains, will show South America that France can export a coveted resource, cold weather. Châtaigne’s contact in Guiana is lunatic bureaucrat Galgaric (Mathieu Amalric), who assigns him a driver named Tarzan (Vimala Pons), a grown woman who is interning with the Department of Forestry and Water and is in charge of renovating gardens. Soon Châtaigne and Tarzan are lost in the jungle, encountering a variety of oddballs, including Christian Duplex (Pascal Légitimus), Georges (Thomas De Pourquery), and Damien (Rodolphe Pauly), each of whom is somehow involved in either tearing down or saving the Amazon. Meanwhile, Châtaigne is being hunted by strange and skillful tax minister Maître Friquelin (Fred Tousch). They also meet up with dangerous insects and animals, cannibals, and parking meters. Jerry Lewis’s The Patsy meets Woody Allen’s Bananas in this hit-or-miss satire of French colonialism and government programs, in which interns are given a tremendous amount of power and responsibility, with director-cowriter Peretjatko (La Fille du 14 juillet) leaving no sight gag unturned. Yes, a lot of them are just plain stupid, but a whole bunch are just plain funny as well.
Struggle for Life is screening on May 8 at 4:00 and 7:30 in the FIAF CinéSalon series “Liberté, Egalité, Fantasy: French Politics on Film”; both shows will be followed by a wine and beer reception. And in a nod to interns here in New York City, all current interns pay only three dollars (with the code INSIDE) for the 7:30 show, which will be introduced by journalist and WQXR host Annie Bergen and feature such prizes as an intern survival kit consisting of pastries, wine, a massage, and more. “Liberté, Egalité, Fantasy: French Politics on Film” continues Tuesdays through May 30 with Alain Cavalier’s Pater, Costa-Gavras’s Special Section, and Benoît Forgeard’s Gaz de France.