Tuesday, October 6, 2015
Microbe and Gasoline (2015) New York Film Festival 2015
The plot of the film has teenager Microbe, so nicknamed because of his small stature meeting and befriending the mechanical genius Gasoline, so named because he smells of it. The pair bond at first over the fact that both are more or less outsiders, but as the film progresses Microbe finds someone who accepts him just for who he is and Gasoline has a friend crazy enough to help him build a car to travel across France.
While the narrative is focused on the pair building and then traveling in the home made car, the film is primarily concerned with friendship and loyalty. We watch how the friends bond and how the friendship and its importance to each other becomes their primary purpose, even to the exclusion of girls.
This is a super little film. This is a throw back to the family films of the 1970's. The one American film that comes to mind is Don Coscarelli's grossly under seen and under appreciated KENNY AND COMPANY which to my mind nailed what it was like being a kid of a certain age. The film is also light years a head of MY GOLDEN YEARS, which also played at the New York Film Festival this year but had kids of the same age (the main characters sister) simply sitting around smoking and drinking.
I suspect the reason the film works so well is that according to Gondry all of the first half is true. He did pretty much everything that happened. And while he never built a car there were plans to do so. The second half trip was him finishing the trip he and his friend had always planned to take.
I really liked the film a great deal and when it was done on Sunday I texted a couple of people who I know would absolutely fall in love with the film. Walking out I know many people around me liked it too because I could hear the discussions of how the film kicked up memories of their own lives. Hell, Gavin Smith the head of Film Comment was moved to tears by it.
Put this one on your list of films to see when it finishes the festival runs and get a regular release.