A comedy for the general public against homophobia and prejudice, “Brilliant Shrimp” returns to theaters, with a show that has been exposed to current events: the new authorship, which condemns homophobia in Russia, was filmed in Ukraine, before the invasion.
“The Revenge of the Glittery Shrimps,” releasing on April 13 in Belgium, tackles the improbable formula that made Part One in 2019: a comedy that claims to be an “LGBT” movie but is aimed at everyone, inspired by the true story of the cast. Gay water polo in Paris. Last Thursday, on the occasion of the Belgian screening of the film, at the Cinema Gallery in Brussels, part of the film crew was filmed at the Grand-Place with the Brussels gay water polo team, “Manneken Fish”. After lifting the taboo on homosexuality in sports, the two directors, Maxime Jovar and Cedric Le Gallo, a water polo player of the adventurous origin, wanted it to be more political, with a film addressing questions like homophobic crimes or anti-homophobic crimes. . In Ukraine they did not imagine that the current events were overtaken by them: the film was shot in Ukraine, with the cast of “80% local”. “The shootings in Russia were impossible due to the law prohibiting gay propaganda,” explains Maxim Govar. “Photographing two men kissing on the street would have put us all in jail.” At that time, Ukraine won an award due to its status reminiscent of Russia, and the filming facilities of Western teams in addition. No one dared to imagine a Russian invasion. Today, an actress from the film is holed up with her children in the Kharkiv metro, technicians take up arms, some of them flee to France, where the team calls for solidarity in the profession to find them working …
For directors, far from homophobic, “The Brilliant Shrimp” is a hymn to freedom in general, and the connection is clear for them with the current situation in Ukraine. “The film tells how Putin persecutes the LGBT community” (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender), notes Cedric Le Gallo, who said he used to sing “Slava Ukraïni” (Glory to Ukraine), from preview shows in France. “Today, Putin persecutes the whole world, so that it resonates especially well.” In fact, this comedy paints an unmistakable picture of Vladimir Putin’s country, where violence against homosexuals is frequent. Russia introduced its law against homosexual “propaganda” among minors in 2013, which was used as an excuse to ban pride parades and raising rainbow flags. Into this universe, the squad of “The Brilliant Shrimp” arrives, joined by a new character, Salim (Bilal Al-Atribi), a young heterosexual steeped in prejudice. The rainbow water polo team on their way to the gay games in Tokyo misses their relationship and finds themselves stranded in hostile territory. While some are hiding in the hotel, others are venturing outside. But in Russia, finding a gay club to party or spending one night on a dating app can turn into a nightmare. The “Shrimp” will have to escape from the feared “gay hunters”, who beat homosexuals on street corners, and discover the inferno of “transformation therapy,” a program set up in a detention center “to cure them of their sexual orientation.”
Show in Ukraine: the better, the better “We enjoyed putting homosexuals into a homophobic country,” Cedric Le Gallo notes, but the film, between adventure comedy and musical comedy, intends to expand its scope: “Transformation therapies It was only a criminal ban since January 2022 in France, he recalls. “The desire to brainwash people who want to live their lives without causing any harm at all (…) This is a universal topic,” shares Maxime Govar, who hopes the film will spark “a clash between lightness and seriousness.” The two directors have a dream: to see the end of the conflict and to show their film in Ukraine, which was planned before the war. They hope “the more the better”. (Belgium / Belgium)