The comedy “With open arms”, led by Christian Clavier and Ary Abbitan, was doubly controversial: because of its treatment of the Roma community, but also with an initial title not really appreciated.
Broadcast this Tuesday evening on M6, the comedy With open arms, which depicts the accommodation of a Roma family by a leftist intellectual, has been doubly controversial. First when announcement of the project in April 2016, the feature film directed by Christian Clavier and Ary Abittan with the initial title Sivouplééé!, with reference to the image of Roma performing the round.
If in a press release, Christian Clavier, who found Philippe de Chauveron two years later What have we done to the Good Lord ?, a scenario announced then “formidable, with memorable characters and permanent comedic bounces that will appeal to audiences around the world”, the title Sivouplééé! had a hard time getting through. It will be quickly put aside, With Open Arms being chosen by the production.
When it hit theaters a year later, With Open Arms once again gritted our teeth, this time due to its treatment of the Roma community. Pinned down by the press, Le Monde evoking in particular a film “foul-smelling “, the film was also singled out by the association La Voix des Rroms, which observed “a false representation “, “humiliating” and “traumatic”. Liberation however let hear a discordant voice, seeing in Open arms a film making “waltz prejudices and clichés “.
Contacted by Le Parisien, director Philippe de Chauveron defended himself from any form of racism. “During test screenings, we interviewed anonymous spectators: 92% liked the film, 1% found it racist and 97% thought that Babik was the nicest character”, he declared. “We love Babik.”
Finally, it should be noted that the With Open Arms teams worked in close collaboration with Sorin Mihal, an important member of the Roma community in Romania. “His mission was to tell us if what we were doing or showing was right or not, while obviously knowing that it was not a documentary but a comedy”, tells a Philippe de Chauveron who made him read the script well in advance and invited him several times on the set. “It made him laugh a lot and he especially saw that there was no malice in our words“, the director concluded at the time.
The Open Arms Trailer: