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Mikro & Sprit (Microbe & Gasoline, Microbe et Gasoil)
France 2015

Opening 2 Jun 2016

Directed by: Michel Gondry
Writing credits: Michel Gondry
Principal actors: Ange Dargent, Théophile Baquet, Diane Besnier, Audrey Tautou, Vincent Lamoureux

Mikro (Dargent) and Sprit (Baquet)are nicknames for Daniel and Théo, both in the same class at school, both outsiders. Mikro’s mother plays the piano and attends meetings of a strange sect. Théo is new in town and his father has opened an antique shop. The boys become friends and make plans for summer vacation. Théo, who is talented in making things, begins to construct a house on wheels with the help of Daniel. Soon they are barreling down the country roads of France at a steady 20 kilometers per hour. Thus, we have a road movie, with the expected adventures along the way, i.e., interaction with an American football team, people from a Korean brothel, gypsies, a drawing competition, etc.

Naturally, the film is fun for the whole family. It is even more interesting that much is autobiographical from the director’s own experiences. Mikro (aka Microbe or small) represents Michel Gondry, who, like Daniel, is talented in art and was mistakenly taken to be a girl when young. Theo or Sprit (originally “gasoline”) is a combination of three school friends of Gondry. Audrey Tatou, as Daniel’s mother, plays an original piano composition of Gondry’s real mother. Gondry has two brothers, the older of whom is a punk, as in the film. Gondry shot the film in Versailles in the house where his grandparents lived, which is immediately next to his own boyhood home. And so on. The ending, perhaps, takes away from the light-hearted adventurous feeling throughout, since boarding a plane to Paris is rather down-to-earth after all the excitement. My favorite scene was the slow-motion soccer game at the beginning of the film. (Becky Tan)

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