Les Visiteurs is a medieval comedy is coming to us from France. You know what this means: lots of slapstick, great jokes, jumping and talking really fast. You get used to this and once that happens, you can enjoy so many great French movies. The movies that broke me were Le gendarme de Saint-Tropez or The Troops of St. Tropez, which I watched when I was younger. Starring Louis de Funès, a comedic genius, for the first time I was introduced to a comedic style that wasn’t as abstract as Monty Python or as simplistic as what Hollywood had to offer. Especially with my limited ability to find and watch movies back then.
The deal hasn’t changed much in all these years, so The Visitors might be the best movie to kickstart your French comedy addiction. Les Visiteurs is a classic tale of time travel and the inability to function in the modern world. This is a safe bet that works best if the crew involved knows what it’s doing and this crew knew it. Starring Clavier and Reno, this is an almost non-stop laughs comedy. In every scene, something is strange and off and because the atmosphere is very energetic and uplifting, you can’t help laughing. Frantic editing and now famous close-ups are something that will stay with you. When you add to this hilarious dialogue with so many quotable exchanges you get one hell of a movie.
It is the year of our lord Satan 1123 and Godefroy Amaury de Malfete just saved the life of his king. To repay him, the king offers him the hand of his beautiful daughter. With everything set for the wedding of the century, an evil witch curses Godefroy making him fuck up the entire thing. With the wedding off and his life in ruins, Godefroy decides to seek help from a sorcerer Eusebius. He, instead of sending him and his servant Jacquard back in time, sends them into the future…
At this point, I must mention the translation as one of the most important elements of this movie. In order to fully get the jokes, the translation must be good. And when I say good, I mean really good. Now I don’t speak French, but I had the fortune to watch this movie with phenomenal subtitles. They captured what the film-makers were trying to do, so it can be done.
People are just fucking lazy. And underpaid (that socialism cannot come sooner). Still, there’s enough humor here for everybody, especially for kids because the movie has a structure of a cartoon. With a runtime of just ninety minutes, this is a short and sweet movie that you will remember fondly. It’s a classic in a true sense of the word with an immense replay value.
Les Visiteurs is essentially a French blockbuster comedy. So, you can expect really great sets, costumes, and all that other good shit. There have been several sequels but none of them reached the quality of the original. Finally, if you’re looking for movies similar to The Visitors I recommend Le Diner de Cons, Les Anges Gardiens, Un crime au paradis. And if you’re up for more recent French comedies here are a couple: Supercondriaque, Babysitting, Bienvenue chez les Ch’tis, Reality and Le grand bain.
Director: Jean-Marie Poiré
Writers: Christian Clavier, Jean-Marie Poiré
Cast: Christian Clavier, Jean Reno, Bela Grushka, Marie-Anne Chazel
Fun Facts: After the final credits role, stick around for a “Hello to all you credits-lovers!” accompanied by a waving medieval knight.