His destination is the town of Bergues,where people speak a language called Ch'ti.All I gathered from the movie is that it's horribly distorted French (N.B.: no offence meant to the people of Bergues and their language.It's just a layman's observation).On arriving he meets with a torrential downpour and almost runs over a drunken and utterly sloshed man by the name of Antoine Bailleu,who later turns out to be one of his colleagues.The incident fiirmly ingrains in Abram the belief that his stay is going to be like hell.
In course of time, he meets other people and gradually develops a camaraderie with the confused 'mamma's-boy' Antoine,the pretty,feisty independent Annabelle,and others.He sets about learning to speak in the local dialect,picking up idiosyncratic words and phrases,their habits et al.Despite some initial hiccups,Abram gradually realizes that these people are nothing like what he thought them to be like.So inspite of all his misgivings,he begins to open up and actually warms up to them. And Antoine's prophetic words resonates in the background.....you cry only twice in Nord pad Calaise.Once,when you come and once,when you leave...
But then,back home,his hyperanxious wife wants to know about his well-being and refuese to believe all the good things he's got to say about Nor pad Calaise.So Abram starts making up stories about how obnoxious that place really is.So much so,that the poor woman loses her sleep over her husband and decides to move in with him.Abram,who had just began to experience all the things that he'd frowned upon once(mostly influenced by Julie) and actually love them,freaks out.The entire locality lends hand to help him.The major part of the movie deals with what happens next.
There are subplots to the movie too.Like the ever-confused Antoine who lives in with Annabelle and is madly in love with her,but is scared just how to break the news to his mother(a brilliant cameo by the veteran French actor Line Renaud)of his desire to marry her.
The soundtrack of the movie consists chiefly of the lilting cheerful "Christmas"y peal of the organ bells.And music,so typical to the idyllic French countryside,that adds to the feel-good factor.
A balding Kad Merad is brilliant as the simple,bumbling,warm,helpless middle-aged man who listens to his heart and works accordingly. And Anne Marvin is charming as the sweet,independent,proud Annabelle.The rest of the cast too does a brilliant job to help the movie rake in the moolah at the BO.That too,striking a chord with the public.It basically aims at laughing at the common beliefs about Nord pad Calaise and its people,which almost fall into the realms of cliches.But,that's accomplished without hurting any public sentiment.And that's its winning formula.It's also about,the cycle rides in countryside,vin at country cafe,an old clarionette, small town people and their simple yet alluring charm.an out-and-out feel-good movie.It's the movie you watch with all the people you love,when you cuddle up to your favorite old cushion.smell the freshly baked cookies and breathe in the rainsoaked fragrance of the breeze.And all that.
There's only one snag about it.It doesn't have English subtitles.Well,to tell the truth,I'm against a movie having subtitles. But then,we being mere novices,it was initially immensely difficult for us to grasp what was going on as the French accent was far from what we're used to hear.Thank God Sir was there to help us out!
I love Bienvenue ches les Ch'ti. It's a beautiful film.
(And me being an ameteur movie critic,sincerely hope that I haven't ruined the effect)