Director: Ben Lewin
Featuring a stunning cast and the assured hand of director Ben Lewm, The Favour, The Watch and The Very Big Fish is a surreal and romantic comedy based on Marcel Ayme's book Samt-Sulplice. This area of Paris used to be lined with shops selling religious artifacts ranging from statues and medals to holy pictures Ayme's book explores what would happen if someone who posed as Christ for a photograph came to believe in his own divinity If the story strikes you as reminiscent of /es»s of Montreal, then you are right, but Lewm imparts a very different tone to his film, his is a kind of surreal comedy rather than the biting social and political satire of Arcand's film.
Bob Hoskins plays Louis, a photographer who ekes out a small living taking devotional photographs of religious scenes He works for Norbert (Michel Blanc) who owns a store selling these artifacts and who tells his photographer that he must find a person to pose as Christ or lose his job. Meanwhile, Louis meets Sybil (Natasha Richardson) while dubbing a porno movie, who tells him about her complicated love affair with a pianist (Jeff Goldblum) whose intense jealousy landed him in prison. As fate would have it, the bearded pianist is a perfect Christ, and upon his release from jail finds himself posing in front of the photographer's lens. Lewin manages to keep a firm grip on the absurdities of the situation, deftly balancing comedy withm the surreal to make a film of amusing conflict.
• Piers Handling Festival of Festivals Montreal