This laugh out loud comedy that follows three neighbours coming to terms with social media will certainly chime with most audiences, despite its tonal monotony.
The opening scene sees Marie (Gardin) running roughshod over a plant in her garden, before crashing into her showhouse-style home on a housing estate. She’s a brash laidback divorcee living off her husband’s money, and probably the most glib of the threesome – taking life in her stride without ever really caring. She does get ruffled when a Vincent Lacoste’s lounge lizard threatens her with a sex tape of their drunken lovemaking, but simply takes a plane to Silicon Valley to track it down, and only because she doesn’t want her teenage son to see it. Asking him why he’d rather live with his father, the teen simply points to the latest pair of expensive trainers with the comment: “because you couldn’t buy all my stuff!”
The French directing duo Kervern and Delépine have shoe-horned just about every annoying consumer bleat into this outrageous comedy about the domination of tech giants, from apple to deliveroo and amazon. It nails how they have us over a barrel with their irritating ways, that knocks Kafka into a cocked hat. The other two characters are Christine (Masiero), addicted to TV series, and Bertrand (Podalydès) who is trying start a new life with a call centre worker in Mauritius. Essentially a sitcom, Effacer l’historique is actually a 21st century tragedy that humorously peddles our everyday lives as an onscreen entertainment – it’s guaranteed to have audiences roaring in the aisles at first, but it gets rather hard-going after a while due to its non-stop narrative of frustration, stretching out a whip-thin storyline for nearly two hours, with characters we neither like nor care about. MT
BERLINALE FILM FESTIVAL | 20 FEBRUARY – 1 MARCH 2020