This article was first published as “Gay, Jewish jokes add fizz to French family farce” in The Times of Israel.
Ruben, a young gay Frenchman, wants to get as far as possible from his crazy Jewish family. So he does the obvious: He moves to Finland to pursue a degree in comparative sauna cultures. When his study plan goes awry, he becomes a mail carrier in a small Finnish town, and falls in love with a hot blond local named Teemu. Life seems idyllic . . . until a misunderstanding prompts his lover to throw him out of the cabin they share in the woods. It all happens just in time for Ruben to reunite with his family — disastrously — for Passover in Paris.
If this all sounds rather farcical, that’s because it’s the plot of “Let My People Go!,” a new French comedy opening Friday in New York and Jan. 18 in Los Angeles.
“I’m a huge fan of Billy Wilder,” said Mikael Buch, the film’s 29-year-old director, speaking by phone with The Times of Israel. “And he always said that if you are going to tell the truth, you’d better be funny, or they will kill you.”
A graduate of the prestigious La Fémis film school in Paris, Buch heeded his idol’s advice while co-writing and directing his first feature-length movie, loosely based on his own life as a gay son in a traditional Jewish family.
“The basic setup is me and my experience of Jewish family and community, but then I let my imagination take off,” Buch explained.
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© 2013 Renee Ghert-Zand. All rights reserved.