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Jean (Josse De Pauw) joins the unemployed when the glass bottle factory closes. He is now a desperate man with a wife, Chantel (Gert Portael) and a 17 year old daughter, Marva (Eva van der Gucht), who does the rounds of auditions as a wanna be amateur singer. Jean’s love for her and his unshakable (and so far unjustified) belief in his daughter’s talent, coupled with his sense of frustration, drive him to an extreme act, quite unlike his personality: on an impulse, he kidnaps Debbie (Thekla Reuten) a pop star whose manager takes the ransom call. But what Jean really wants is not money; he wants one of his amateurish songs turned into a hit. And as the kidnap drama gains notoriety on tv, he wants his daughter to sing it.

Review by Andrew L. Urban:
Written with the flair of genuine invention drawn from acute observation, Everybody Famous is everybody’s cup of tea: it can be black or sweet, and always refreshing. Although set in a nondescript Dutch town whose population lives vicariously through tv stars and the faux glamour of showbiz, the film never makes fun of any of its characters. Indeed, Deruddere take great pains to present them as multi-dimensional flesh and blood with complex traits that variously amuse, irritate and sometimes confound. The drama and humour are drawn from the same sources, provoking us and gently admiring these entirely accessible human beings, even in the most extraordinary and bizarre circumstances. And the fact that the film avoids sensationalism as much as it avoids mawkishness, gives it terrific energy and attraction. The performances, from an unglamorous but glorious cast, are enthralling and entertaining, delivering characters tinged with pathos and irony throughout. Skillfully directed, Everybody Famous is a new twist on the ugly duckling story, and introduces a welcome new hero in the stage father ‘extraordinaire’.

Review by Louise Keller:
Just thinking about this film makes me feel wonderful. Everybody Famous is an absolute gem. Whatever you do, don't let the sub-titles stop you from seeing it. As he checks the empty bottles on the production line, it is easy to understand why this blue collar worker wishes better for his talented daughter. He also aspires to becoming a songwriter – what does it matter if his family can't stand to hear him hum his irritating themes? Oh yes, the grass is always greener. Marva, his daughter, may be overweight and far from a beauty, but she has such a pretty voice. Why is it that a pretty girl like sexy TV star Debbie becomes rich and famous? In this tale, it's music and songs that are the jewels in life, and against the everyday grind of daily existence, music is the compelling escape from reality. Music is used as part of the story telling process and what a myriad of unexpected outcomes occur through the story's twists. The performances are truly fabulous, and while each character is flawed ('I don't think you're an idiot, stupid!'), we really care for them and are hoping against hope that the little man wins. We are reminded that Oscar Wilde said 'Turn your fart into thunder', and this sentiment is truly expressed throughout. The roles are reversed – it's a stage father, not mother, who is centre stage, and tension and humour are intertwined from beginning to end. Everybody's a winner in Everybody Famous, a poignant, human and very funny film with an explosive emotional pay off. It takes you to places you never expect; it's a truly delectable experience. There is even an Australian connection. Laugh, cry and rejoice! Please don’t miss it – whether you're famous or not.

Review by David Edwards:
Those wacky Belgians are at it again. After last year’s rather outré The Carriers Are Waiting comes Everybody Famous, another funny but twisted look at life at the bottom of Belgium’s socio-economic ladder. Oddly, the film has a familiar feel to it. It’s mix of at times bizarre humour with occasionally poignant themes is reminiscent of some products from our own film industry – notably Muriel’s Wedding. To top it off, there’s a direct reference to Australia in the film. Everybody Famous is a classic example of the “ordinary people in an extraordinary situation” scenario; and it works brilliantly here. Unlike in The Carriers Are Waiting, director Dominique Deruddere develops real empathy for his characters – even as they engage in activities which normally would carry a hefty prison sentence. While the film’s climax is rather contrived, it’s handled with enough good humour and lack of self-consciousness that it can be forgiven. In fact, you’ll probably find yourself cheering. Deruddere (who also wrote the script) peppers the film with plenty of jokes, varying between the most dour irony and the most obvious prat fall. Josse de Pauw is wonderful as Jean, the put-upon father. His desperation for his daughter is palpable and is never dampened by her sometimes embarrassing performances at local talent shows. Eva van der Gucht makes the most of her role as the Muriel-esque Marva; and Thelka Reuten and Werner de Smedt lend solid support. Watch out too for Victor Low as Michael, a talent agent so smarmy, he could be real! Everybody Famous is a sometimes uncomfortable but ultimately triumphant comedy with a wicked sense of humour. A definite crowd-pleaser.

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(Iedereen beroemd!)

CAST: Josse De Pauw, Eva van der Gucht, Werner De Smedt, Thekla Reuten, Gert Portael

PRODUCERS: Dominique Deruddere, Loret Meus,

DIRECTOR: Dominique Deruddere

SCRIPT: Dominique Deruddere


EDITOR: Nico Leunen, Ludo Troch

MUSIC: Raymond van het Groenewoud


RUNNING TIME: 99 minutes


AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: August 16, 2001 (Sydney), October 11, 2001 (Other States)

VIDEO DISTRIBUTOR: Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment

VIDEO RELEASE: April 17, 2002

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