© Squareone/Capelight/Central

Die Unglaubliche Reise des Fakirs, der in einem Kleiderschrank feststeckte (The Extraordinary Journey of the Fakir)
France/U.S.A./Belgium/Singapore/India 2018

Opening 29 Nov 2018

Directed by: Ken Scott
Writing credits: Luc Bossi, Jon Goldman, Romain Puértolas, Ken Scott
Principal actors: Dhanush, Bérénice Bejo, Erin Moriarty, Barkhad Abdi, Gérard Jugnot

The Fakir’s (Dhanush) storytelling settles his young, unruly audience and captivates their attention. It begins in Mumbai, where a young boy’s (Hearty Singh) riches are beyond his understanding, with a mother (Amruta Sant) who dreams of going to Paris. Often she says if Aja stays out of trouble, she will take him with her. Somewhat tricky considering Aja’s newly discovered phenomenal talents, the deft cousins, and that their neighborhood is endowed with conjurors, illusionists, fire-eaters, et al. Nonetheless, one day they do go to Paris. In Aja’s favorite container store, he encounters Marie (Erin Moriarty). Their subsequent plan tumbles asunder, and takes many detours. Whereby, Aja experiences a loquacious Parisian taxi-driver (Gérard Jugnot) and vaudevillian policeman (Ben Miller), Italian actress (Bérénice Bejo) and hot-blooded hubby (Stefano Cassetti), and nomadic Africans (Barkhad Abdi, Uwamungu Cornelis). All this while Aja crisscrosses continents in a hot air balloon, luxury leather trunk, and naturally, an IKEA wardrobe. This time, when mama declares that he take responsibility, events conspire until Aja conjures his greatest magic trick ever. And “learned what I really wanted to do.”

French native author-screenwriter Romain Puértolas’s debut novel (L' extraordinaire voyage du fakir qui était resté coincé dans une armoire Ikéa, 2013) is the basis for director Ken Scott’s fantastical same-named film. Dhanush carries the film supported by a wonderful cast—obviously, they are having fun. Vincent Mathias’ cinematography atmospherically expresses each location’s compositions. As does Nicolas Errèra’s charmant music, while Philippe Bourgueil with Yvann Thibaudeau’s editing does not lollygag or get tangled at borders. This imaginative comedy-adventure movie promises to keep audiences a-goggle with its phantasmal antics, warmhearted storyline, and is a great preamble to Yuletide fun. One might wonder whether the story is true. Rest assured, “only the important parts.” (Marinell Haegelin)

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