As I was sitting there watching Go with Le Flo, I kept thinking to myself "Florian looks so incredibly familiar to me." So, when the film was over and I was basking in a relaxing array of good feelings I flipped my trusty browser over to the always reliable Internet Movie Database (IMDB) and checked it out for myself.
Let's see. Denis Aubert plays Florian and, well, I guess he's really not familiar given that his only other film credit listed is 2008's Karate Film Cafe, also a production of the Bright Blue Gorilla team of Michael Glover and Robyn Rosenkrantz.
Why do I share that experience?
That's exactly what you can expect from Go with Le Flo, a romantic comedy filmed in Berlin and an official selection of the 2013 Heartland Film Festival kicking off this Thursday evening, Oct. 17th, with the world premiere of Gimme Shelter starring Vanessa Hudgens.
It's unlikely that you'll get a celebrity sighting from watching Go with Le Flo, unless you happen to be familiar with the musical and cinematic works of the producing team of Glover and Rosenkrantz as Bright Blue Gorilla. For the most part, Glover and Rosenkrantz stick to their tried and truth methods of producing through an artists' collective approach that embraces the idea of the common good over individual accolades. That's very likely why they managed to produce this film, which they refer to as an "international labor of love," that involved a cast and crew of a couple hundred people from 19 different countries.
It shouldn't be surprising that with all this diversity you can find yourself listening to French, German, and a little bit of English over the course of the film's 81-minute running time.
What's the real kicker? It all works wonders in the life affirming and love celebrating way that Heartland Film Festival fans have come to appreciate over the years.
The film centers around the aforementioned Florian (Aubert), a half-German and half-Frenchman who owns a French delicatessen in Berlin called, you guessed it, Le Flo. When Florian meets Camille (Leslie Dubreuil), the daughter of a famous director, it's love at first sight - at least for Florian. Florian wants to ask Camille to marry him not knowing that she's already engaged to a famous actor. On the flip side, he practically ignores the obvious affections of his best friend Jenny (Marina Senckel), who owns a bakery down the street and loves Florian but hasn't figured out how to tell them.
Then, there's Tina (Roberta Bianchini). She just loves herself, but she's an absolute delight that you'll probably fall in love with anyway.
If all of this sounds like just another formulaic romantic comedy, you're only partly right. While the basic framework for Go with Le Flo is familiar, rest assured that director Michael Glover is spontaneous and spirited enough to breathe life into the familiar with some interesting twists, entertaining asides, and an absolutely delightful cast that keeps you completely entertained.
Why did Denis Aubert seem so familiar?
Okay, I have to admit that his spirited and vibrant performance (and his hair!) kept reminding me of a younger Roberto Benigni. That alone made me smile. More than that, Aubert gives such a comfortable and authentic performance as Florian that he feels like somebody you know even if you can't speak a word of his language. Aubert's performance is one of heart, humor and honest goodness and stays with you long after the closing credits have rolled on by.
The same is true for the rest of the cast, though they aren't always given as much to do. Leslie Dubreuil is terrific as the haughty hottie actress Camille, while you can't help but fall madly in love with Marina Senckel's Jenny from the first moment she pops up on the screen. Given the task on more than one occasion of going toe-to-toe with Aubert's Florian, Roberta Bianchini hits all the right notes and makes you laugh the entire way.
If you're at all familiar with the folks behind Bright Blue Gorilla, then it shouldn't surprise that the film's vibrant palette is consistent with just about everything they do personally and professionally. Rosenkrantz and Glover are world-traveling musicians who sold everything they owned (except their guitars!) in 1990 and bought one-way tickets to Europe where they immediately began playing music, traveling, recording their music and, of course, making films. Go with Le Flo is their fifth feature film and it's proving to be a festival favorite with a win for Best Foreign Film at the Myrtle Beach Film Festival along with screenings at Burbank International Film Festival, Tacoma Film Festival, and several others including this past weekend's Carmel Art & Film Festival. Once you understand the spirit and spontaneity in which Rosenkrantz and Glover live out their personal and professional lives, it's even more amazing to experience the vibrance, heart and energy contained within Go with Le Flo. The film's lensing is pristine and beautiful with only a couple shots giving off that low-budget vibe, while Glover's editing is perfectly suited for the film's wryly comical moments. Even the film's costuming, courtesy of Inge Langhein and Gregor Marvel, is perfectly suited to the obvious artistic vision behind the film.
Go with Le Flo will have four screenings during the Heartland Film Festival in Indianapolis at the following dates, times and locations:
- Saturday, Oct. 19th @ 12:45pm - AMC Castleton Square 5
- Sunday, Oct. 20th @ 2:30pm - AMC Traders Point 9
- Monday, Oct. 21st @ 12pm - AMC Traders Point 10
- Thursday, Oct. 24th @ 2:45pm - AMC Castleton Square 8
To get your tickets in advance, go here. As a special treat, Glover and Rosenkrantz will be performing a concert in the theater before each screening of their film!
© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic