France warms to bleak north as new film breaks box office records
French film poking fun at national stereotypes in the country's post-industrial north has broken box office records here.
PARIS, March 4, 2008 - A French film poking fun at national
stereotypes about the country's post-industrial north, a land mocked as damp
and cold and inhabited by beer-drinking brutes, has broken box office records
"Bienvenue chez les Ch'tis" has pulled in 3.5 million viewers since it was
released nationally last Friday, distributors' figures showed.
The film, directed by local hero Danny Boon, who also stars in it,
satirises the prejudices about the Nord Pas de Calais region bordering Belgium
to reveal the warmth and big hearts of its people.
Films about the area, which lacks the glamour of Paris and the sunshine of
the Riviera, usually focus on coal mining, unemployment, rain or heavy
But "Bienvenue chez les Ch'tis," or in English "Welcome to the Land of the
Ch'tis," tells the story of a southerner forced by his company to go north and
who finds, once he has mastered the often impenetrable accent, that the people
have hearts of gold and warmly welcome strangers.
The movie is set to be one of France's top box-office successes since
Amelie Poulain came out in 2001.