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Tour de France (French Tour)
by Marinell Haegelin

Rachid Djaïdani | France

When things heat-up with rival rapper Sphinx, his producer insists Far’Hook lay low and Bilal has the perfect plan. Extenuating circumstances dictate he remain in Paris, so he inserts Far’Hook into a prearranged pilgrimage with Serge. No fool, Far’Hook agrees since an important concert’s on the horizon. Still, within minutes of meeting the old man, father/son contrasts are overwhelmingly obvious. Serge is a racial bigot, xenophobic chauvinist, who talks in clichés. Far’Hook’s an upstart rapper fixated on his music. Nevertheless, “don’t judge a book by its cover.” Somewhere along their route tracing Claude Joseph Vernet’s painterly ports, sometimes forced by circumstances, their stereotypical attitudes shift, blur. Pushed by Serge, Far’Hook takes a detour but, all roads lead to Marseilles, where comeuppance and rewards alike await.

The film delivers: directing and acting, screenplay and music, strong production values, entertainingly confrontational while poking at steadily growing social issues. Even Gérard Depardieu’s rapping reminds how good his acting can be. Besides learning a lesser-known artist’s historical connection and about French harbors’ traditions, the tour concerns understanding. “We’re not different, just separated.”