Despite being best known in today’s world for a recent bladder issue whilst taking a flight, actor Gerard Depardieu is and has always been one of the biggest names in foreign cinema. Be it as an Oscar nominee in Cyrano de Bergerac, or outside of the film world as a Knight of the French Republic (Knighted in 1985), Depardieu is one of the most beloved and influential names of his ilk.
And this week sees the release of one of the actors most intriguing roles, as a young brute in the shockingly comedic cult classic, 1974’s Going Places.
Co-starring Patrick Dewaere and a young and beautiful Isabelle Huppert, the film tells the story of two youngsters who are looking for nothing more than some action, and a good lay. Meeting up with beauticians, ex-convicts and bourgeois teens, the pair attempt to evade cops and various other hindrances on their hunt for something to feed their raging sexual appetites.
Best described as a neo-road trip flick (think Two Lane Blacktop but with a focus on breasts instead of philosophy and cars), Going Places features towering performances from its two leads. Both Depardieu and Dewaere are great here, particularly the former, who fits the role of striking brute so perfectly. An absolute stud, Depardieu’s character is imbued with this sense of brooding charisma, a sensibility that is so strikingly male, that it’s a really interesting performance. Dwaere plays well off of him, and the two’s chemistry is really fantastic. The women here, played by Miou-Miou, Jeanne Moreau and Isabelle Huppert, are all great as well. Miou-Miou is gorgeous, and yet both sexual and innocent at the same time, as she herself is striving for something yet to be attained by her: an orgasm. This hunt for the unattainable is something directly at the core of this film, and is often times the source of its many great chuckles. Moreau and Huppert, while seen briefly, are both top notch, rounding out one hell of a cast.
Directed by Bertrand Blier, Going Places, also known as Les Valseuses (The Testicles), is, for a road trip film, shockingly well made. An all out farce, Going Places has this great sense of style and a warm aesthetic, that pairs well with the brooding nature of its leads, and the bluntness of its set pieces. Blier allows the masculinity to steep on screen, celebrating everything and anything male. However, Blier isn’t afraid to show just how dumb a 20-something man can truly be. There are many moments here where Blier allows the camera to sit in on conversations or actions for a great deal of time, unwilling to flinch when its leads look silly or out of their minds.
As far as a release goes, this is relatively light on features. Kino gives us a trailer for the film, as well as a stills gallery, but as far as anything remotely intriguing, this is lacking. The transfer itself looks gorgeous, as Depardieu in particularly was made (at least at this age) to be seen in HD, and the score really pops here. I’ve also always been a fan of Kino’s insistence of putting a still photo as the inside portion of the packaging, as it really adds a lot to the disc itself’s overall aesthetic. It’s a geeky thing, but to me, it makes their work really stand out, even if it’s not quite as inventive as some of Criterion’s packaging.
Overall, for fans of the cast or of mid-70s cinema, this will be one to check out. Best left to your Netflix queue, only diehard fans of Kino, Depardieu or Blier will want to nab this sucker. However, those who do, won’t be sorry, as while the features may be weak, the film is an absolute riot, and a must see for any cinephile.