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The Sunday Review: the Adjustment Bureau and l’Immortel

06/03/2011, 02:30:06 PM

by Siôn Simon

L’Immortel is set in Marseille. It stars Jean Reno, was produced by Luc Besson and directed by Richard Berry. Released in France a year ago this month, it was made available for rent on UK iTunes this week.

I watched it because it is set in Marseille, a city I have known my whole life and about which I feel strongly. I thought it would be nice, on a sub-zero March evening in Birmingham, to see the sunshine and hear the accent.

You don’t hear the accent. There is one character (the most brutal in this violent film) who speaks with a strong Marseille twang. Everybody else could be from anywhere. This is the most interesting thing about the film. In any British and most American flicks, it would be inconceivable. Imagine a gritty mafia revenge drama set in Glasgow (the Marseille accent is even more distinctive than the Glaswegian) in which every character sounds like they’re from the Hampshire suburbs. Wouldn’t happen, and you couldn’t watch it if it did. (more…)

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