Sunday, 11 September 2016
My Big Night (4½ Stars)
On the surface this film is a comedy, but you'll enjoy it more if you concentrate on the underlying social commentary.
It's October 15th, 2015. A television studio is filming a New Year's show to be broadcast on December 31st at the turn of midnight. The studio has recently fired 500 members of staff, and there are violent protests outside, leading to clashes with the police. Inside everyone is laughing and dancing on cue, sipping the coloured water that is supposed to be wine.
Two singers stand at the middle of the events. One is Alphonso, an elderly man with a 40 year career behind him, arrogant, convinced that he's the world's greatest singer. The other is Adanne, a pretty boy singer in his late teens. Alphonso is shocked when he finds out that Adanne is top of the bill.
Attacks are planned on both singers. Alphonso's son Yuri has hired a psychopathic killer to shoot Alphonso during his performance. What Yuri doesn't realise is that the killer is a fan of Alphonso. A young woman intends to make money from Adanne by getting pregnant from him and claiming millions in child support.
It's a brilliant film that was deservedly left until the last day of Stuttgart's Fantasy Film Festival. Most of the comedy revolves around the contrast between the real world outside and the glittery fake world indoors, but the film is funniest when it disintegrates into slapstick.
Germany expects its film fans to be educated. It's remarkable that I was sitting in a German cinema watching a Spanish film with English subtitles.