Bye-Bye (Karim Dridi)

Rating: **1/2 (out of ****)


(1) Recount the plot
(2) Throw in gratuitous puns
(3) Write about yourself

Matt Groening, "How to Be a Clever Film Critic"

Bye-Bye, a French/Swiss/Belgian co-production directed by native Frenchman Karim Dridi, is the tale of two brothers, both French-born children of North-African immigrants, who travel from their home in Paris to visit relatives in Marseilles. The elder, Ismaël, is then to send the younger, Mouloud, to join their parents, who have since returned to Africa. Mouloud, however, has no desire to say "ta-ta" to France, the only country he has ever known, and, after a heated exchange with his brother, promptly disappears, roaming the streets in search of excitement. Ismaël's futile efforts to locate him are further complicated by his (Ismaël's) unhealthy attraction to his cousin's beautiful girlfriend, and the tensions that result. Watching the film unfold, I found myself wondering how I would have felt as a preteen if my own family had insisted that I should henceforth live in Italy, from which my great-grandfather emigrated at the turn of the century. During a visit to his father's homeland a couple of years ago, just before he died, my paternal grandfather discovered, to his shock and amazement, that his dad had abandoned a wife and children in Italy before crossing the ocean to make a new life for himself in America; he never spoke of the previous family to their successors, and it was only by chance that we learned of these relatives, geographically distant but genetically close. (This is a true story.) What if my family had made this discovery decades ago, decided to move to Italy in order to get to know their new kin, and dragged me along with them? How might I have reacted? Would I, like Mouloud, have rebelled? Would I have turned to the fascinating and dangerous world of drugs and guns? It seems rather unlikely, really; I've been in difficult spots before, and yet have never felt even a momentary urge to dilute my sorrows with the cheap and tawdry water of...uh...hmm. I seem to have gone astray, a bit. Where was I? Oh, yes, the film. Here, let me direct you to my review of last year's City Unplugged, which will tell you everything you need to know. Au revoir.