Donck’s Torpedo takes a look at a reconstituted family
by Aurore Engelen
29/12/2011 - A family is: a) the art of wearing matching clothes; b) a group of people who know each others’ favourite dishes; c) putting a “The” before a surname and an “s” at the end of it; d) the chance to organise a birthday party for the patriarch with Eddy Merckx as star guest. What is a family? That’s the question asked by Matthieu Donck (who first came to attention with his outlandish short Ripailles Sous Paillasson) in his debut feature, Torpedo [trailer].
It centres on out-of-touch, confirmed bachelor Michel Ressac, who believes he has found the perfect opportunity to make amends with his ill father. A respected but feared father, from whom Michel is estranged, for lack of wanting to perpetuate the family tradition. Michel knows that a family “is blood and roots”. But a family is sometimes as crumbling as the house where he grew up.
So when Sofalife gives him the opportunity to offer his father an evening with Eddy Merckx in exchange for a short visit to the sofa heaven with his family, that’s no problem: Michel quickly cobbles together a nice family. He borrows the neighbours’ son, and enlists the help of his ex, who owes him a favour. Obviously, not everything goes exactly to plan, and Michel finds himself forced to take away his “little family” in his motor caravan, headed for Brest. Along the way, the little travelling family will forge bonds stronger than blood ties.
Michel Ressac is a role tailor-made for François Damiens, enabling him to further develop his now familiar character as a bloke who means no harm, is a bit of a loser but an endearing one, and can be found this month in the Foenkinos brothers’ Delicacy [trailer]. Starring alongside him, a special mention should go to Audrey Dana, who gives a generous, true-to-life performance as Christine.
The film, produced by Dominique Janne (K2), with backing from the Film and Audiovisual Centre and Wallimage-Bruxellimage, is slated for theatrical release in May 2012. Unveiled ten days ago in world avant-premiere at the Be Film Festival in Brussels, it will also be shown at the Alpe d’Huez International Comedy Film Festival next January.
(Translated from French)