The 5th edition of the Brussels International Film Festival (BRIFF) kicked off yesterday at UGC De Brouckère. French director and screenwriter Michel Hazanavicius, Oscar winner for directing “The Artist” (2011), came over to Brussels to promote the release of his latest feature “Coupez!” a.k.a. “Final Cut.” The comedy was the opening film at the BRIFF; last month, the film opened the Cannes Film Festival as well.
Michel Hazanavicius (b. 1967) clearly has a soft spot for films about cinema, given the unsurpassed “The Artist” and “Le redoubtable” (2017, a.k.a. “Godard mon amour,” a tribute to French film director Jean-Luc Godard). And you can’t overlook his two hilarious spoofs and retro-espionage comedies “OSS 117: le Caire, nid d’espions” (2006, a.k.a. “OSS 117: Cairo, Nest of Spies”) and “OSS 117: Rio ne répond plus” (2009, a.k.a. “OSS 117: Lost in Rio,” both films starring Jean Dujardin as secret agent OSS 117), as they were guided by the same brilliant and creative brain that brings us now “Coupez!” After all, in his latest comedy, about a film crew that tries to make a low budget zombie film, there are numerous graphic scenes, but the lightheartedness with which the ketchup splashes off the screen or body parts fly around for almost two hours, is supported by the equally frivolous acting performances of protagonists Romain Duris and Bérénice Bejo. Duris plays the film director who yells and screams at his actors, until he storms off the set. While everybody is waiting for him to calm down, the makeup artist (played by Bérénice Bejo) tells the actors that the building where they’re filming was the site of human experiments by the Japanese army in the Second World War, and that legend says the living dead can still be summoned, a subplot that only increases the chaotic hilarity of the movie-within-the-movie.
Without giving away too much on the synopsis of “Coupez!”—which is hilarious all the way through—Hazanavicius worked his way around with his out-of-the-box and over-the-top script. It feels like a thundering, whirling and freewheeling adventure, and reminds you of the work by American cartoon animator Tex Avery. With his light-hearted approach and without taking himself too seriously, Hazanavicius refers to Quentin Tarantino, one of the few directors who could make a similar film as a tribute to the profession in which both men have excelled for many years.
Considering that news outlets, especially in the U.S., have requested to limit the use of fire arms and show less violence in films, the audience is expected to view the film, including the violence in it, with a mature dose of common sense.
“Coupez!” is a remake of Shin’ichirô Ueda’s Japanese cult classic “One Cut of the Dead” (2017), shot on a budget of $25,000. It grossed $60,000,000 worldwide.
The film is available in several territories worldwide.
“Coupez!” (2022, trailer)
COUPEZ! (2022) DIR Michel Hazanavicius PROD Michel Hazanavicius, Brahim Chioua, Noémie Devide, Alain de la Mata, John Penotti, Vincent Maraval SCR Michel Hazanavicius (screenplay ONE CUT OF THE DEAD  van Shin’ichirô Ueda; play by Ryoichi Wada) CAM Jonathan Ricquebourg ED Mickael Dumontier MUS Alexandre Desplat CAST Romain Duris, Bérénice Bejo, Grégory Gadebois, Finnegan Oldfield, Matilda Lutz, Sébastien Chassagne, Raphaël Quenard, Lyes Salem, Simone Hazanavicius, Agnès Hurstel, Charlie Dupont