The Cabbage Soup (1981) Poster

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A rare tale about friendship
lnt-k19 July 2005
Non french people may feel very disoriented by this movie... Its dialogs and background refer to a scaring rural France which disappeared a long time ago. Dialogs sound dumb ? There are... Character look ridiculous ? They are... The story is a nonsense ? sure. So, what makes this movie so interesting and well known in french cinema history ? well, as i said in the title it is a very rare tale about friendship, and also loneliness and fate. The two protagonists are old poor isolated countrymen close to death. They have lost everything (love, youth, illusions, hope) but themselves and their friendship. The world has changed too much... The movie was released as a stupid comedy (it has this reputation anyway). But it is a very sad movie and i often saw people crying during the film.
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great movie, great comedian
staffhorst-nienburg18 August 2002
one of the greatest movies of the greatest comedian. I have never laughed more, than in " Luis und seine verrückten Kohlenköpfe"! Unfortunately de Funes died do early to had the chance to see his movies in the cinemas (I was to young). But he is in my memory. Thank you for a lot of great movies!
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A very pleasant film to see!!
rosacaron23 February 2004
"La soupe aux choux" is more than all things, the story of the sincere friendship between two old men. Besides and in spite of rough discussions between them, this friendship remains complete and always sincere. It's necessary to precise that these old men are not farmers, but peasants, one was a well-sinker, the other a maker of sabots. It's also a mistake to believe that peasants are some resistant to change; this kind of mentality comes from old age, and it's true for everybody.

The beauty of that film comes before all from the greay quality of the actors and of their interpretation. And it's true not only for Louis de Funès, but also for Jean Carmet and Jacques Villeret. It's surely because of the quality of the direction of Jean Girauld, on the one hand and the dragging of the quality of play of that tremendous actor who was Louis de Funès on the other hand.

I have seen that film about fifty times at least, and I feel the need to see it again about three to four times a year. Each time I like it and never find it vulgar, because it's necessary to be highter than the apparent vulgarity of certain scenes. Never forget that everyone can, at a time in his life do some scenes like these, and we should not feel ashamed to do that, it's all and completely human. It's precisely what the film is, very human, and it explains the attachment we have for it. Even if the film is a little budget one, it's one of the best of that great actor who was Louis de Funès.
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Yes indeed. An ode to friendship.
schiriac9 October 2009
I've read some of the comments before and it surprises me that people really try comparing this movie to others and expecting from it a classic approach to comedy or sci-fi or even drama. I have the feeling that you cannot judge this movie using the same common patterns because it simply is different. I don't think that producers really wanted this movie to be rushed to cinema or trying to manage making it within a tight budget. Well, it is a small budget movie, maybe, but it didn't require too much funds. You don't need a huge budget to do something really excellent. This movie is a completely new approach to any of the above mentioned genres. And, as lnt-k said just before me, it is above all a wonderful ode to friendship. That's all that matters here. And the actors are magnificent. Louis de Funes, may God rest him in peace, is perfect in this movie, even if the critics were not generous with the movie. I don't need critics to really enjoy a performance like this. Each time I watch it again, I love it more and more. 10 out of 10 from me.
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Grows on You
Nicholas Rhodes23 June 2001
I remember being in France in 1981 and being taken to see this film which I found totally stupid as concerns the script. The years have passed and due to regular showings on TV here I have become gradually attached to the film. The film has acquired a sort of value with its ageing which was not apparent at the time it came out. It should be pointed out that the film is set in " Le Bourbonnais ", an isolated area in central France near to Montluçon, in the Allier Department. The local inhabitants are portrayed as " country bumpkins " eating cabbage soup and farting all the time. The arrival of an alien ( Jacques Villeret - quite a famous actor in France today ) from the planet of Oxo ( is it a play on words with the English beef-stock product ? )who takes a liking to cabbage soup will change the lives of these two " gentlemen ". I'm not saying it's a work of art but it is definitely not as bad as reputed when first released. In addition to that the film music is quite a catchy tune and readily available on CD. So all in all, without going over the top, I would say the film has its place in

French cinematic history. I am not sure, however, whether it would have any success outside France. Is it known elsewhere under another title which I suppose would be " Cabbage Soup " ???
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One of De Funes last films is also one of his best and most touching
t_atzmueller25 January 2014
There's a little magic in this film I'll have to add a little sentimental note here: This movie reminds me of good and bad childhood memories. The good being, that (like many Germans of my generation), I grew up with the Louis de Funes comedies so, yes, I was laughing very hard when I saw this film for the first time. The bad memories: a few days after having seen it first, I heard the de Funes had passed away and this may have been the only time in my life when I had tears rolling down my cheeks after hearing about the passing of an actor (this was before the time when everybody was racing to put a random, make-myself-feel-better "RIP" on Facebook, whenever a celebrity kicks the bucket).

In many ways, his second-to-last film was one of the most unusual de-Funes-Films. For one, the viewer can intrinsically tell, that De Funes was a very sick man; somebody who's at the end of his road, yet still summoning up his strength to give us the usual over-the-top, hyper-ventilating performance for which he was known and loved. Despite this being a "typical" de-Funes-Film, there are very strong, melancholic moments (especially those involving farmer Claude and his resurrected wife Franchine or the when Claude is reminiscing about past days), which was very rare for the typical de-Funes-film. What was also very atypical was the electro-sound-music that at times reminds of Jean-Michel Jarre. Some people have complained that the soundtrack wasn't fitting. Matter of personal taste really, but I dare you to look up the title-song on YouTube and not have the tune, be it the original or one of the many covers, stuck in the back of your head for a long time to come.

In essence, all slapstick and de Funes hyper-conundrum aside, it is a movie about people longing for simpler, "down to earth" (paradoxically) times, when you could still enjoy the starlit, countryside-sky with a friend, getting drunk on wine and Pastis (and, yes, not to mention the fart-tournaments between de Funes and Carmet, which goes beyond the contemporary "laugh because somebody farted"-joke). One of the films highlights is the scene where de Funes introduces his alien friend into the "art" of eating his homemade cabbage soup – watch it and tell me honestly to the face that it doesn't make you long for a bowl and a piece of bread, whether you like cabbage or not. Is this movie vulgar? Sure thing it is. Dishonest? Quiet the opposite. Makes one almost feel a little guilty writing this over the internet. Sure, those times aren't coming back, but that's what movies are for, no? One can honestly say: they don't make films like this anymore. I tend to ignore the last De-Funes-film ("Le gendarme et les gendarmettes"), thinking of "La Soup aux choux" as the final farewell from this master-comedian, as if to say: hey, no matter how tough things get, face them with a mischievous grin; what comes will come, but it will come more smoothly with a glass of Pastis and a bowl of home-made cabbage soup.

Mind you: this is by no means an objective review but I personally give it 9 out of 10.
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"Comedy is acting optimistic"
Ana_Banana15 February 2007
When I first saw it a few years ago, I have been deeply moved by this movie. Now I don't find it so striking, but when I reconsider it its humanity still remains. The clue is to love the characters, and then you would look sympathetically even to the stupid farting recital. The two old friends are in fact so kind at heart, striving to remain merry and hopeful, though are gradually deprived of every gift of life (youth, wife, wealth, other friends etc)! The merit of this movie is to speak in a simple way about big, sad issues. "Comedy is acting optimistic" (Robin Williams). On the plus side, one should add the great performance of the two leading actors, the jolly "accent du Midi", a too short cameo by Claude Gensac, and first of all the bitter-sweet, child-like and almost unreal solution to the loneliness of the two old men. On the minus side, a bit of a hurry sometimes, and especially the total lack of skill and motivation from the actress playing Claude's wife, ruining an important and rather unbelievable character.

The best De Funes film, quite different from the usual bulk.
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Great drama acting by de Funes
sergey-dio14 April 2008
I saw it and can say that this is very good old-fashioned comedy. (in the way Charlie Chaplin made). Louis de Funes - one of his last roles - is outstanding as always. Other cast is great too. Maybe the choice of Funes' wife is not good- I don't like her acting. SO, we have a very funny and sometimes sad movie with great language jokes and with couple of "words of wisdom":). See it if you like classic comedies, Louis, or just want not a stupid comedy for an evening at home. And of course this is much better than last de Funes movie - Gendarme and Gendarmettes - it's not show the level of de Funes talent and contains some really stupid jokes. So, if you want to watch some of the late Funes films see this one or The Miser (1979) which is so great!!!
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The Best of French comedy
Nico Thom8 October 2005
This movie is the one I watched most often. It seems to be a bit foolish first, two old men farting all the time and an alien allured by that sound. But the acting is simply great and the humor quite intelligent. The German title of that movie is "Louis und seine ausserirdischen Kohlköpfe" meaning "Louis and his extraterrestrial heads of cabbage". The German version is missing some of the original scenes, e.g. one where Chérasse tries to hang himself. Unfortunately I'm lacking of speaking French, so I can't assess the original version.

It is my favourite movie with Louis de Funès next to "L'Aile ou la cuisse". He seems to be born for such a role playing a grumpy old man.
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Louis de Funès at his best considering his health
codco23118 February 2003
This was Mr de Funès on one of his last movies. Even if the health was not all there, he still had the touch and wacky ways of making us laugh. It had a moral, not to make fun at you elders, even if they are living in the past manners. You need to be open minded and you must be a fan of Mr de Funès to really appriciate his style of humour.
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