Thursday, October 09, 2008
Mozart des pickpockets, Le
Le Mozart des Pickpockets
Dir. Philippe Pollet-Villard
France, 31 min
*** Note on youtube video. This is not the entire film. It is only a minute or two before it switches to an interview with the director/writer. Also, it is not subtitled and I don't speak French but if you do maybe he says some interesting things. If you want to see the entire film, it can be found on itunes.
Oscar, Best Short Film, Live Action, 2008
César, Best Short Film (Meilleur court métrage) 2008
Best Editing, Best Film, Best Screenplay Lutins du Court-Métrage 2007
Le Mozart des Pickpockets is a little on the longer side of the short film time spectrum, running at a length of 30 minutes. This brings up the whole debate on what length is “short.” Personally I tend to enjoy short films that are found on the shorter end of that spectrum running between 5 and 15 minutes. Although that does not mean I disregard anything longer. I felt that the length of this film is appropriate for the narrative and any shorter would have reduced its emotional impact and structural elements.
Le Mozart des Pickpockets is a cleverly witty film that follows two “professional” pickpockets. I say professional because it is their profession and they have a few decent tricks up their sleeves but when it comes down to it, they are fairly dumb crooks. Within the first six minutes their team of thieves is stopped and most of them are arrested, except the two main characters (one is the director also). They also happen to pick up a young boy, who when the police show up grabs onto them and ends up following them home.
The two men decide to make the team three by including the young boy. After a few failed attempts to steal, they miraculously find their niche only to end by a police encounter in a unrelated instance.
Now, why does this film deserve an Oscar? I’m sure someone could argue a lot of different points for or against this.
For me the cinematography was decent. Not something I would rave about but I definitely had its moments of “oh that’s a nice shot” or “ok the blown out walls distract me” but that’s also me being very particular. There wasn’t any complicated camera movement or lighting set up. For the most part everything was very simple. And all together it makes a great film.
I have to say at the end of the film I was a little disappointed when the two men get arrested. I wanted them to succeed and become wealthy criminals. As bad as that sounds. (But after watching 30 minutes of their lives and seeing the poor condition they live in I had sympathy for them. And they were kind enough not to leave a young child out on the streets. Yes they appreciated him more once he started working for them, but they took care of him before this.)
And then the glorious “ah-ha” moment happened. The camera pans up from the handcuffs on the men to their sad faces. Cuts to the boy’s sad face. Pans down to his clenched fist which opens to reveal a key. Quick pan back up to his face, with a huge beaming smile and cue music. (The first real emotion the boy displays the entire film). I couldn’t help but smile with him. Although I still do not know whether they escape or not I was glad that this ending was left open for us to decide. Because I like to imagine they got away.
Besides the cute ending and other things I mentioned about the film techniques, I enjoyed this film because who doesn’t like watching movies about dumb criminals. I felt it was amusing and very entertaining. The dialogue funny as well as other small moments such as when Richard is washing the dishes wearing pink rubber gloves, or when Philippe breaks his nose and creates a bandage that resembles a beak. These little moments really gave the film character for me. It wasn’t over the top or forced and for that I appreciate it.