French comedian Kad Merad rose swiftly from radio and television to feature films, where he displayed a talent for both comedies like "Welcome to the Sticks" (2008) and intimate dramas like "Don't Wor...
WHAT IT’S ABOUT?
It’s Paris 1936 and the winds of war are circling. The depression has created hard economic times and the Chansonia Music Hall just to north of the city has closed down leaving three show biz workers out of a job. Stage hand Pigoil is worried he could lose custody of his 12-year-old son. Milou is a hot-headed electrician and a ladies' man who is determined to have his voice heard. Jacky sold sandwiches there but has his own dreams of starring on stage. When fate intervenes the three get the chance to produce a show that could save the theater and change their lives forever.
WHO’S IN IT?
A superlative French cast is led by veteran Gerard Jugnot as Pigoil who brings gravitas and warmth to the central role. Kad Merad steals all his scenes as the hapless Jacky whose talent for imitation leaves something to be desired. Comedy legend Pierre Richard returns as the mysterious Monsieur TSF who makes the dream possible while Clovis Cornillac gets all the nuances of Milou down pat. Best of all as Douce a young girl hired for the big show is first-timer Nora Arnezeder a major new talent who bewitches with dual acting and singing abilities that make her one to watch.
Co-writer and director Christophe Barratier more than confirms the promise he showed in his first directorial effort The Chorus another music-heavy project for which he received two Oscar nominations. With the help of a first-rate production team he has created a part of Paris that may never have really existed but personifies the romantic ideal we have of the City of Lights. His purely delectable and visually enchanting film is a throwback to the kind of musicals we don’t see anymore. And the song numbers all in French are just sensational.
There’s a little bit too much emphasis on French politics of the time but overall this is a wonderful cinematic valentine to an era long gone.
A Busby Berkeley-style song and dance number is lots of fun to watch and recalls the best of the Warner Bros. musicals of the '30s.
Breaks box office records with "Welcome to the Sticks."
Scores international hit with "The Chorus."
Wins Cesar for the drama "Don't Worry, I'm Fine."
French comedian Kad Merad rose swiftly from radio and television to feature films, where he displayed a talent for both comedies like "Welcome to the Sticks" (2008) and intimate dramas like "Don't Worry, I'm Fine" (2006). Born Kaddour Merad on March 27, 1964 in the Algerian city of Sidi Bel Abbès, he was the son of an Algerian father and French mother. Merad began his performing career as a teenager, playing and singing in various bands on the Club Med resort circuit. He experimented with classical theater before moving into radio as a host on Oui FM. There, he met Olivier Baroux, with whom he formed the duo Kad & Olivier; the pair had their own program, "Rock'n Roll Circus," which featured numerous recurring sketches. In 1999, Kad & Olivier earned their own television sketch comedy series, "Le grosse emission" (Comedie+, 1999-2001). Merad soon transitioned successfully into feature films, both as a solo performer in comedies like "La beuze" (2003) and dramas like the thriller "The Pharmacist" (2003). He also teamed with Baroux for various broad comedy films, including "Mais qui a tuè Pamela Rose?" (2003), based on one of their more popular sketches, and "Iznogoud" (2005), a live-action take on the comic by "Asterix" co-creator René Goscinny. During this period, Merad received excellent reviews for his turn in "Les Choristes" (2004), a coming-of-age drama that was nominated for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar. The international acclaim afforded to the picture led to "Je vais bien, ne t'en fais pas" (2006), a moving drama about a young woman (Melanie Laurent) who lapses into a crippling depression after the apparent disappearance of her brother. Merad played the siblings' father, whose tough exterior hid a deeply wounded and sensitive soul, and received the César for Best Actor in a Supporting Role. He then returned to a steady schedule of comedies, including reunions with Baroux in "A Ticket to Space" (2006) and "Ce soir, je dors chez toi" (2007), which marked Baroux's directorial debut. Merad scored the biggest hit of his career to date with "Bienvenue chez les Ch'tis" (2008), a fish-out-of-water comedy about a postman who discovers that the sleepy northern French town to which he has been dispatched is the perfect antidote for his miserable life. Now firmly established as a film star, Merad worked steadily throughout the 2000s and beyond. He moved between light comedies like the Oscar-nominated "Paris 36" (2008) and "Superstar" (2012), with Merad as an average man who suddenly becomes famous, and a broader farce with Baroux "Mais qui a re-tue Pamela Rose" (2012), a sequel to their popular action spoof. In addition, he starred in dramas like "22 Bullets" (2010), a mob thriller with Jean Reno, and writer-star Daniel Auteil's moving family story "The Well-Digger's Daughter" (2011).
Began performing in bands at the age of 10 before forming "The Gigolo Brothers," which worked the Club Med circuit.
By 2009, Merad was earning 1 million euros for his performance fee in "Le petit Nicolas" and other films.
Made his directorial debut with "Monsieur Papa" (2011) before co-directing "But Who Re-Killed Pamela Rose?" with Olivier Baroux.
Provided the voice of Tuke in the French-language dub of Disney's "Brother Bear" (2003).