French film review

French with a 'sh' sound which makes you cry twice.
Alastair Clark


I remember moving to Northern France in the 1970s and being surprised to hear local farm workers use the  'sh' sound when my school French had taught me to expect an  's' or even a soft French 'c' with that squiggly cedilla. 
 
Fašon became 'fashon' and comme ša became 'comme sha' .   I had discovered the world of 'Ch'Tis' - the popular northern culture where speech was characterised by this 'sh' sound and is also now celebrated in the local Ch'Ti beer.


This area of 'Le Nord'  was looked down upon as being backward and uncultured until local actor Danny Boon [INSERT https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dany_Boon]  starred in the box office record-busting film Bienvenue Chez Les Ch'Tis


 This carefully crafted comedy includes a bicycle chase homage to Jaques Tati  but above  all champions this underdog region with the enduring theme - on pleure deux fois chez les Ch'Tis - you cry twice, once on arrival as it seems so terrible and once again on departure as you will have made so many enduring friendships.


If you haven't seen this film then you really should, and next time you find yourself across the channel you will be tempted to visit the town of Bergues where the film was shot!  Bergues is a short distance from Dunquerque and 40 minutes from Calais. It is well worth a visit to feel the local pride in the film which really put les Ch'Tis on the map!