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:: Everybody Famous

This Belgian story is a lighthearted take on the entertainment industry, with parallels to Australian cinema and an Australian story. Two main characters leave the Belgian music industry to become unknown in Melbourne Australia. The story has the quirk of embarrassing characters found in popular Australian films exported such as Priscilla, Muriel’s Wedding and The Castle, yet this time is refreshingly foreign. Everybody Famous follows the story of Marva, a weighty 17-year-old diva who is compared to the pop success of aging underweight Debbie.

With the humour of mime we visit various amateur talent contests where competitors sings the hits of and dress like rock stars. Vanessa Paradis, Michael Jackson, Marilyn Monroe, Queen, Madonna and Otis Redding are all imitated. Comedy is through the difference in appearance and performance over lack of vocal strength. The use of costume, and the clarity of the voice of Marva during a puppet show points to the possibility that her talent may be misused. It is the faith of her parents that push the success of Marva the star.

Known conceptions about the music industry are included. Debbie moralises that those with talent do not need to sleep their way to the top, while Marva is connived to sleep with Debbie’s manager to become a pop star. There are inferences through the similarity to Karaoke in some performances that pop stars do not actually sing on the recorded tracks or sing live. It is interesting that the story chose not to hide Marva as a recording artist, even in subplot possibility. The manager and label are made to be the evil characters in the story, concerned with money and record sales over the welfare of their artists. Debbie’s manager Michael is seen to leave her with kidnappers to push sales that outsell The Beatles. He is also seen to trap Marva and her father Jean, as a way to push the sale of Debbie’s single. The launch of Marva's single was meant to push Debbie's sales, and not support her career start.
Some sympathy is given to the pop star who has not had sex for two years, and whose only friend is her dog. Debbie also has the positives of wearing bicycle clothing and cutting hair naked.

The large Marva plays an unconvincing Vanessa Paradis and Madonna; these are roles clearly not right for her. She is made masked by the record label that chose to hide her features. Debbie as the more marketable skinnier pop star is also made to wear costume, as a gimmick. A final scene has a talent contestant imitate Marva, interestingly played by the same who had earlier played Marilyn Monroe as the credits show, repeated later with the rest of the cast. This is an attempt to support a changing pop star image ideal, but it will go unnoticed. A dedicated father, and blue collar worker is made to be the true hero of the story. Played by Josse De Pauw, there is much similarity between the character and actor of the father in The Castle.

This translation of the French spoken Belgian displays language barriers and some subtitles are left stark with incorrect grammar. Similarities between Debbie, the hobbyist mechanic and Kylie Minogue’s Neighbours start can imply a further link with label start Mushroom and Michael Gudinski. There is also the chance that the Western name was used as with the everyday ‘Debbie’, as a symbol of a distracted popular music industry. Marva‘s single 'Lucky Manuela’ signals a return to the patriotic traditional music.
Look out for a pre-plastic surgery Michael Jackson mask, a day/ night saga broadcast, and a record label written workers class anthem.

Screening at Cinema Nova