French director Philippe de Chauviron’s Qu’est ce qu’on a fait au Bon Dieu Serial (Bad) Weddings is the most successful French language film of 2104 chalking up over 12 million admissions in France so far – more than double its nearest rival Supercondriaque.
But it’s not only French audiences who are flocking to see this tale of a bourgeois white couple whose four daughters decide to marry men of different religions and ethnic backgrounds. International box-office figures show the film has drawn an audience of five million outside France and it has entered the table of the 20 most successful French films internationally since 2000.
In Germany it has topped the box office for several weeks with 3.3 million admissions seeing off strong competition from several US blockbusters. In Belgium the film has had 420,000 admissions, followed by Austria (373,000), French-speaking Switzerland, 195,000, South Korea (170,000), Quebec (152,000), German-speaking Switzerland (150,000) and Greece (126,000). International box office figures are set to increase with the imminent release of the film in Scandinavia.
While Qu’est ce qu’on a fait au Bon Dieu enjoys huge success at home and a number of countries abroad it has not been picked up by film distributers in Britain and the US who claim the film is politically incorrect and possibly racist. The production company behind the film, TF1 International, says English-speaking audiences “would never allow themselves these days to laugh at blacks, Jews or Asians.”
The influential US cinema industry magazine Variety described the film as “perpetuating racist stereotypes and feeding into France’s ambient xenophobia”. In a review in The Hollywood Reporter, the jokes were condemned as “heavy-handed – the Jew calls the Arab ‘Arafat’ and then is karate chopped by the Asian”.
Meanwhile Chauveron claims the film is about “deflating” the prejudices peddled by the anti-immigrant Front National party whose support in on the increase in France.
Fans of the film around the world will be delighted to learn a follow-up is already planned for 2016.