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Welcome to the Sticks

Bienvenue Chez les Ch'tis

French stand-up comedian turned actor/director Dany Boon’s Welcome To The Sticks has become the highest grossing film of all time at the French box office, and not without good cause. The film stars Kad Merad as Philippe Abrams, a post office manager in the South of France who is transferred to the far north city of Bergues, which has a reputation of being a cold and miserable wasteland populated by drunkards. Treating his transfer as a death sentence, Philippe is initially reluctant to fit in, yet grows to love his new surroundings and its people, among them Antoine (Dany Boon) the town postman, and Antoine’s unattainable love Annabelle (Anne Marivin). In simple terms Welcome To The Sticks is a feel good movie and a rather good one at that. Its main themes revolve around the prejudices faced by small towns in misunderstood regions of the world, their eccentricities, and the stereotypes placed on them by big city folk. A good majority of the film’s comedy stems from the language barrier between Philippe and the townsfolk, who speak a rather unique French dialect. The two romantic sub-plots work very well, and a sequence involving a mail run turned drinking marathon is a highlight. At its core, Welcome to the Sticks is a message of love from Boon – who himself was raised in the North of France where he spoke the dialect heard in the film – to the people of Nord-Pas de Calais. And while some French cinema purists may disapprove of such sentimental conventions in a French film, Boon’s tribute is indeed a wonderful and moving cinema experience. – Matthew Pejkovic, Mediasearch
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Directed by: 
Dany Boon
Running Time: 
French with English subtitles
Kad Merad, Dany Boon, Zoé Félix, Lorenzo Ausilia-Foret
Screenplay by: 
Dany Boon, Alexandre Charlot, Franck Magnier

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