A comedy for the general public against homophobia and prejudice, Glitter Shrimp is back in theaters with a program that has become a current hit: a new opus denouncing homophobia in Russia was filmed in pre-invasion Ukraine.
Revenge of the Brilliant Shrimp, which opens April 13 in Belgium, uses the incredible formula that made the first part a success in 2019: a comedy that claims to be an “LGBT movie” but is aimed at everyone, inspired by the true story of a gay Parisian – water polo teams. Last Thursday, on the occasion of the Belgian preview of the film, at the Galeries cinema in Brussels, part of the crew posed in the Grand Place with the Brussels gay water polo team Mannequin Fish. Having lifted the taboo on homosexuality in sports, directors Maxime Govaret and Cédric Le Gallo, the water polo player at the origins of the adventure, wanted to be even more political, with a film touching on sensitive issues such as state homophobia or homophobic crimes. . In Ukraine, they did not think that they would be taken by surprise by current events: the film was shot in Ukraine, by a team of “80% locals”. “Shooting in Russia was not possible because of the law banning LGBT propaganda,” Maxim Govare explains. “Shooting two men kissing on the street would land us all in jail.” At the time, Ukraine was prized for its Russian-like setting, as well as film sets for Western teams. No one dared to imagine a Russian invasion. Today, the actress from the film sat down with the children in the Kharkiv metro, the technicians took up arms, some fled to France, where the team calls for solidarity in the profession in order to find work for them…
For directors, in addition to homophobia, Shrimps with Glitter is a hymn to freedom in general, and the connection with the current situation in Ukraine is obvious to them. “The film is about how Putin oppresses the LGBT community” (lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgenders), notes Cedric Le Gallo, who says he is used to singing “Glory to Ukraine” at pre-screenings in France. “Today, Putin is oppressing the whole world, so this resonates especially.” In fact, this comedy paints an unambiguous portrait of the country of Vladimir Putin, where cases of violence against homosexuals are not uncommon. In 2013, Russia passed a law on “propaganda” of homosexuality among minors, which was used as a pretext to ban pride marches and display rainbow flags. It is in this universe that the merry gang of the Shining Shrimp arrives, joined by a new character, Selim (Bilal El Atrebi), a young straight man steeped in prejudice. A rainbow water polo team heading to the Gay Games in Tokyo loses contact and gets stuck in hostile territory. While some are hiding in hotels, others are going out into the streets. But in Russia, finding a gay club for a party or a one-night stand on a dating app can turn into a nightmare. The “shrimp” will have to flee from the dreaded “gay hunters” who beat homosexuals on street corners and discover the hell of “conversion therapy,” a program set up in the detention center to “treat their sexual orientation.”
Screening in Ukraine: the sooner the better “We had fun putting homosexuals in the country of homophobes,” notes Cédric Le Gallo, but the film, between adventure comedy and musical comedy, intends to strike wider: “conversion therapy” was only criminal. banned since January 2022 in France, he recalls. “The desire to brainwash people who want to live their lives and do absolutely no harm to anyone (…) is a universal theme,” says Maxime Govare, who hopes the film will provoke “a clash between lightness and seriousness.” The two directors have a dream: to see the end of the conflict and show their film in Ukraine, which was planned even before the war. “The sooner the better,” they hope. (Belga/Belgium)