Review: BBQ (2020)

courtesy of NIFFF

In the world where the foundations of the Western civilization, stated in the motto “liberté, egalité, freternité” of the French Revolution, do not apply any more, the only chance for survival is the escape to somewhere where they still do. That country in Jeanne Mayer’s astonishing short musical BBQ is called ‘Over There’ (or La Bas in the original French). After the TV premiere in February, BBQ is hitting the festival circuit with NIFFF, where it played in the international shorts programme.

The unnamed town, first shown through the drone camera and resembling the old computer games, seems almost deserted. The exception are the teen friends Jeremy, Alexis, Sami, Sonita and Aissatou who are spending their empty days there hanging together, playing the computer games, visiting the rare public events such as a beauty pageant pictured early on in the film and dreaming of the better life. Aissatou and Alexis are coupled up and are about to leave for Over There. However, the price they are ready to pay for it is hefty.

Even without the musical component, BBQ works perfectly as the smoothest possible blend between the teenage social drama and the dystopian science fiction, as the writer-director Jeanne Mayer hits the right note about the hopelessness that marks the lives of the contemporary youth. But with the music videos in the genres of the so-called urban music (from R’n’B to hip-hop and trap) inserted in the grim reality of the film like a sort of fantasy sequences, it becomes quite strong and memorable viewing experience packed in the format of the 20+ minutes short film.

Courtesy on Unifrance

Runtime: 21′ 44”
Country: France
Language: French
Directed by: Jeanne Meyer
Written by: Jeanne Meyer
Cast: Lam Dang Vu, Ires Sandjon, Henri Maokhampio, Théo Soupmphonphadky, Vichara Phul
Cinematography by: Evgenia Alexandrova
Editing by: Noémie Fy
Music by: Mohamed Sqalli
Choreography by: Queenie Tassell, Ires Sandjon, Felicia Nyingone
Sound by: Benjamin Silvestre, Paul Guilloteau
Costume design by: Marine Peyraud
Make-up by: Stéphanie Caron
Special effects by: Frédéric Serpantié
Animation by: Maxime Blondel
Graphics by: Julia Garcin
Produced by: Ines Daien Dasi, Victor Billet, Léa Wisniewski
Production companies: Canal+, SMAC Productions
Supported by: Cine+, SACEM, Sofilm de genre, Region de Normandie