A public comedy against homophobia and bigotry “Brilliant Shrimp” returns to theaters. In this new adaptation, the Paris players of the gay water polo team find themselves stranded in Russia, a country where violence against homosexuals is frequent.
“The Revenge of the Glittery Shrimps,” which is out in theaters now, takes the improbable formula that made Part One a success in 2019: a comedy that claims to be an “LGBT” movie but targets everyone, inspired by the true story of a water polo team like me. Sex in Paris.
After lifting the taboo on homosexuality in sports, directors Maxime Jofar and Cedric Le Gallo wanted it to be more political.
“For this second episode, the idea was to push all the skaters out: those related to activism and politics, but also humor with real comedic scenes. And visually, we wanted it to be stronger,” director Cedric explained to RTS Le Gallo, water polo player at Adventure Origin.
>> Watch: “Shrimp’s Revenge” trailer
Gays in Russia
Unlike the first episode, there are quite a few sports and competition scenes in this second part. Cedric Le Gallo notes that “the idea was to bring the shrimp to have another adventure.”
This adventure takes place in Russia. On their way to the Gay Games in Tokyo, water polo players from the Glitter Shrimp miss their match and find themselves stuck deep in Russia.
A scenario that makes it possible to address issues such as homophobia or homophobic crimes and paints a clear and unambiguous picture of Vladimir Putin’s country, where violence targeting 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.
In this universe, the hilarious Shrimp Spangled gang arrives, and they are joined by a new character, Sélim (Bilal Al-Atribi), a young heterosexual steeped in prejudice. 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.
>> To watch: Excerpt from the movie “Shrimp’s Revenge”
The “Shrimp” will have to escape from fearsome “gay hunters”, who beat gays on street corners, and discover the Inferno of Conversion Therapy, a program set up in a detention center to “cure” their sexual orientation.
Le Gallo, recalling that it was just banned in France, says he was inspired by American reports and documentaries, countries where companies practicing conversion therapies open their doors more easily to cameras.
The French director, seeing with his fellow writers how it unfolded, says they were dumbfounded and laughed a lot too, “because it really crosses the line with absurdity, with, say, improbable cycles of masculinity,” he explains. “We thought it was perfect for dramatic comedy where we could denounce scandalous methods that don’t work and at the same time make fun of them.”
Film shot in Ukraine
Filming was impossible in Russia due to the law prohibiting LGBT propaganda. “Picturing two men kissing on the street would have put us all in jail,” Maxime Goffard explained during a preview. So the movie was shot in Ukraine before the Russian invasion.
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.
Cedric Le Gallo noted again during this preview: “The film tells of how Putin persecutes the LGBT community.”
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”.
Interview by Ann Laurie Ganac
Web inquiry: aq with agencies