In ‘Revenge of the Glitter Shrimp’ gay water polo team confronts homophobia in Russia

5:35 PM, April 12, 2022

The appointment was set last Monday in the offices of their production company, which ironically is called Les Improductibles. In the D-9 edition of La Revanche des Shrimp Spangled, Cédric Le Gallo and Maxime Govare vacillate between impatience and anxiety. “The last days are the hardest, like giving birth, even though I’ve never been pregnant.”First joke.

The duo can already be reassured by the enthusiastic reception of viewers during the presentation, at festivals and in counties, of their newborn, the highly anticipated sequel to Shrimps, the true story of the designed gay water polo team. Colors for his new, somewhat macho trainer. “We can see that the audience often comes with their families, which was not the case for the first part. This is the effect of confinement, Maxim Govar confirms. The film aired for free on Canal+ during this period and broke audience records, peaking at 2 million viewers in broad daylight. »

Three years after the success of Shrimps Sequined – 600,000 spectators in France and sold in about thirty countries – the duo returned with this sequel. A franchise run by the great US president of Universal Studios (the film’s distributor), Donna Langley, is fond of the singularity of this low-budget (barely €2 million) film and without a headline approaching humor and fantasy but also serious sports homophobia. I called the president of Universal France to tell him: “I hope there is a sequel already in the works” »says Cedric Le Gallo, who says he hesitated for some time for fear of being accused“opportunism”.

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Psychology refinement

His partner convinced him to take the initiative. “Our ambition was to stay true to the DNA of the first part without falling into copy paste. We wanted to add more cinema to the action scenes, but we also wanted to improve the psychology of the characters »Maxime Govar argues. Very quickly, the choice of Russia became clear to the duo committed to condemning homophobia in all its forms, always with laughter. Homosexuality in Putin’s country is legal, but a 2013 law prohibits its “promotion.” The script writer continues. If two men or two women hold hands in the street, this is a prison. Not to forget the issue of conversion therapies that we denounce in the film. So it was impossible to shoot there. »

So the tandem fell back on Ukraine, a year before it was invaded by Russia… “At that time, there was no tension about the possibility of war, Refers to Cedric Le Gallo. Ukrainians are used to living with this threat on their borders. »

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Shift – 20 degrees

Since the outbreak of the Russian invasion, most actors and art team members have taken up arms to defend their country. As a sign of support, at each preview, the directors send them videos of the audience screaming into the chorus “Ukrainian Slava” (“Glory to Ukraine”). “They regularly send us pictures of the forehead with a smile and a lot of skill. It’s a lesson: if half of our country was in the ashes, we wouldn’t have such courage., says Maxime Gofar. One of the gay nightclubs in Kyiv, a former concrete factory where some of the movie scenes were shot, now serves as a refuge, like the metro.

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