How I (almost) started the Second Great War
|How I (almost) started the Second Great War|
Theatrical release poster in Yonderre
|Directed by||Thibaut le Fêvre|
|Produced by||Jean-Yves Forvert|
|Music by||Felix von Seier|
|Edited by||Francois Biroc|
|Distributed by||Primo Kino|
|Box office||$138 million|
How I (almost) started the Second Great War (Burgoignesc: Comment j'ai (presque) déclenché la Deuxième Grande Guerre) is a 1978 Yonderian satirical comedy feature film directed by veteran director Thibaut le Fêvre and starring Yonderian comedy legend Jean-Yves Forvert. The film follows Jacques de Bois (played by Forvert), a Yonderian customs officer who unknowinly spoils a black market nuclear arms deal and travels across much of Levantia to return a suitcase nuclear device that he believes to be an ordinary piece of luggage.
The film is known for its use of surreal humor and its fast-paced slapstick comedy, including visual and verbal puns, gags, and obscure humor. It was initially suppressed in Diamavya for its negative portrayal of the Diamavyan regime but has since become a cult classic.
The film opens with a conversation over telephone cutting between a group of three shady looking men in pinstripe suits (who are referred to as the "pinstripes") in a warehouse and a Diamavyan politician (played by Aaron von Dirk) named Yesui Corrompov (a gag name, "je suis corrompu" meaning "I am corrupt" in Burgoignesc). The conversation ends with the men agreeing to meet in Collinebourg International Airport to hand over an item. The film then cuts to the airport where Jacques de Bois (played by Forvert) is working as a customs officer inspecting luggage. de Bois sees Corrompov placing a suitcase on the ground and hastily leaving as he had agreed to over the telephone. de Bois, believing that Corrompov has left behind his suitcase negligently, runs to the suitcase, picking it up just before the pinstripes from the previous scene make it there. de Bois follows Corrompov who runs out of the terminal and into a waiting taxi. de Bois arrives just as the taxi leaves. de Bois enters a taxi himself, telling the driver to follow the previous taxi. This scene then replays itself as the pinstripes emerge from the airport terminal just in time to see de Bois' taxi leave, after which they too commandeer a taxi.
The three taxis drive to Famichez on the south coast of the Vandarch where Corrompov embarks on a ferry headed for Diamavya. de Bois, fast determined to return Corrompov's lugage, follows him on board. The pinstripes, fast determined to acquire the suitcase de Bois is carrying, also embarks. Much slapstick comedy ensues on the trip to Diamavya, as de Bois, still searching for Corrompov, manages to toss a pie in the face of one of the pinstripes, knock another overboard and concuss the third by slamming a door in his face, all of which were accidents. The pinstripes reconvene and decide to kill de Bois, convinced that he is an undercover agent of the Yonderian intelligence. The pinstripes go to de Bois' cabin after dark, elaborately ambushing him. They fail hillariously, however, as de Bois is nowhere to be found, de Bois being in the engine room askng around for Corrompov. The next scene shows Corrompov taking a phone call, reassuring that the package has been delivered.
The ferry arrives in Ultimine early the next morning, and de Bois once again spots Corrompov as the latter is disembarking. What follows is a farcical chase sequence in which, amongst other things, de Bois jumps through a fireworks factory on a burning pogo stick whilst the pinstripes are following him on a three-seated tandem bicycle, arriving in the factory just in time for it to explode. Corrompov eventually arrives at a government highrise building and takes an elevator to his office at the penthouse floor. de Bois arrives soon after, still on the burning pogo stick, on which he jumps to the reception to ask about the man that just entered. He is directed to the elevator by the receptionist. As de Bois leaves the pinstripes arrive, their suits thorougly damaged by the fireworks factory antics and the scene replays itself as they talk to the receptionist. On the elevator ride up the suitcase opens up revealing inside a comically apparant nuclear weapon complete with countdown timer.
The film's ending is a highly convoluted chain of events in which de Bois runs the length and width of a Diamav government building carrying a nuclear device, narrowly escaping guards who make chase. At the end de Bois finds Corrompov speaking in front of dozens of foreign dignitaries. de Bois awkwardly shimmies onto the stage and hands the stunned Corrompov the suitcase. de Bois is arrested by police but immediately freed by other officers bringing along the pinstripes in handcuffs. The film then cuts to de Bois at home having breakfast by himself as a voiceover explains that Corrompov had long been suspected by Diamavyan police to have been a weapons smuggler and that de Bois had finally helped them prove it. The final shot of the film is de Bois turning his head, the camera cutting to a Diamavyan medal on his table.
The film was shot in 42 days on a budget of 5 million dollars, a relatively modest budget considering the starring cast. Jean-Yves Forvert had agreed to work on the film for free in exchange for 5% of the box office earnings, landing him a sum of 6.9 million dollars.
All exterior shots in the film were shot in Yonderre except for some of the exterior shots of Diamavya which were stock footage. Many of the interior scenes were shot at Primo Kino's soundstages in Collinebourg. A notable exception to this was the airport scenes at the beginning of the film, which were in fact shot in Collinebourg International Airport.
The film was received very well in Yonderre, with critics and audiences lauding the film for its gags and humor. It was suppressed in Diamavya for its negative portrayal of the Diamavyan regime but tapes were smuggled in regardless and the film has since become a cult classic. Viewing of the film was permitted in Diamavya just before the films 10th anniversary on June 4th, 1988 as officials acknowledged its popularity and the fact that it had been circulating throughout the country for years regardless. Theaters across the country held showings of the film drawing in massive audiences, with the government holding the country's largest showing in Vandyndhur Square, Nepekun, Pohrankraj. In Caphiria, the film was critically acclaimed and grossed almost $15 million, and is the fifth highest domestically grossing foreign film in the Imperium. It would win both Best Comedy and Best Foreign Film at the 1978 Opus Cinema Awards in Venceia.