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The trippy French comedy, “Yannick,” is both long-winded and deceptively simple. It’s a situation where hostages are held but presented as surreal and slow paced form of farce. This takes place in the middle of a bad stage play. The latter interrupts a very strange high strung divorce comedy ‘Le Cocu,’ meaning ‘the Cuckold’ which appears to be about an aggrieved husband (Pio Marmaï) and his wife (Blanche Gardin), who admits that she had a “platonic” affair with some guy (Sébastien Chassagne) suffering from “stomach troubles.”

When he first appears, Yannick is an annoying braggart. He interrupted the play for the sole purpose of expressing his dissatisfaction to both the three actors on stage, as well as fellow members of the audience. The actors within the play being acted insecure Paul (Marmaï), changeable Sophie (Gardin), and weak William (Chassange) attempt to drive him away but he remains obstinate. He brings out a gun and uses it to make space for himself on stage. Although it has bullets, this does not actually matter; they only serve as light symbols of power. Piggy has got conch and he holds onto it for quite some time.

In terms of Yannick’s interaction with other members of the audience during the film, nothing is ever clear here at all. This maddening ambiguity can be observed in most films by Quentin Dupieux, who is known for movies like “Smoking Causes Coughing”. As such, there really isn’t any story whatsoever about Yannick’s life or experiences so far. He comes around, occupies way too much space and slowly turns his room against itself. All normal rules governing social contact—paying customer sitting through a half-empty theater—are thrown out of window. Eventually, Yannick forces Paul and his co-stars to redo the play only this time on meeting with Yannick’s specific requirements. Some members of the theater audience express their displeasure with Yannick. Nonetheless he still receives a standing ovation at the end.

According to early reviews of “Yannick,” it is understandable that many would describe the comedy as “meta” since critics have interpreted it to be Dupieux’s own comeback. I don’t really understand how that last part can be true, not just in light of where the movie ends up but also because of all the boring stuff Dupieux puts us through before then. This is an enjoyable comedy whose whole point is just to kill time. Though initially appearing like an obvious jerk, Yannick eventually manages to win over some people in the audience. One of them offers him a place for a night stay, while nervously adding that he doesn’t seem so bad after all.

Dupieux does not seem to either defend or blame Yannick. That is because he interrupts the kind of play that is a crude, capricious significance of boulevard comedy and only intended for some cheap seats. Late in the movie, the entire film takes place at Theatre Herbreteau, which is named after Paris’s real-life Théâtre Hébertrot. And thus Yannick has no intention of creating a sympathetic backstory when he complains about how far his commute was or how little time he gets off from his job as a parking attendant on cinema halls but we can expect so much more than this.

This continuous process rather resembles several harsh pulls on a thick carpet. Suppose for an instance that Rupert Pupkin compelled timid or maybe even somewhat submissive theatregoers and artists to listen to him as he talked at length about his problems while trying out new jokes.

This is still noteworthy though Paul, Sophie and William may be likable to some extent, considering what we see during the opening scene when Yannick cuts short “Le Cocu”. On Dupieux’s cue they melt down, strut and giggle their way into another scene—a habit that Dupieux seems always keen on dragging through half-baked ideas. In fact none of Yannick’s actions prove anything, this coming especially after a very funny ending shot in one static long take by Dupieux with the apparent purpose of emphasizing how long we have waited for it.

These characters are never given enough information to appear like complicated beings inside them psychologically speaking; rather sitcom characters and sketch comedy stock types whose personalities and mannerisms were usually based on whatever the situation at hand could be turning into at any given period of time. People who go to see movies because they are written ‘Quentin Dupieux’ should know that he doesn’t really care about endings. Others will find out pretty fast that “Yannick” is loaded with jokes that are sometimes on the audience because they have been disappointed by its endless hopes.

If at all, what remains consistent about “Yannick” is how ephemeral its tone and narrative can become from one scene to another. If you feel comfortable being manipulated by a Director, while being held hostage by his cast of frustrating characters and you are likely to hate or love it.

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