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"Dud" according the French, hit on Netflix

Xavier Gens' first film "Under Paris" divides opinion

Dud according the French, hit on Netflix  Xavier Gens' first film Under Paris divides opinion

Released on June 5 on Netflix, the first film by Xavier Gens, "Sous la Seine", is enjoying enormous success despite a tidal wave of negative reviews in France. The feature film stars Bérénice Bejo and Nassim Lyes in an imaginary Paris where sharks have settled in the Seine while triathlon events are supposed to take place. The thriller, whose storyline clearly echoes the triathlon events of the upcoming Olympic Games, has faced harsh criticism from the French press. "Stuffed Shark Turkey", "Unbelievable Series Z", "Brackish"... the words are far from kind, to say the least.

According to Les Échos, it is a "turkey that hits rock bottom" and "multiplies the clichés (...), which can only shine through a second or even third-degree viewing." Télérama adds: Sous la Seine represents the "recipe for a true French stuffed shark turkey". Le Parisien laments the presence of the César-winning actress in such a film: "But what has Bérénice Bejo gotten herself into with this mess? The César-winning actress from 'The Artist' seems lost in this dud. Her character, like the others, is full of clichés. The young eco-activist, inevitably a lesbian, and her comrades are adorned with piercings, dyed blue hair, and Peruvian hats. Inevitably." And yet, to everyone's surprise, the film is a real success on the streaming platform. Since its release, it has accumulated 84 million views, making it the 4th most-watched non-English film on Netflix.

While the French press was ruthless, English-speaking critics have been much more complimentary about Gens' film, even comparing it to "Jaws." Variety states that "few films deserve the label 'often imitated, never duplicated' as much as Jaws, as all truly great shark films can be counted on one hand (...), Sous la Seine might be the best of them, which is no small praise." The Guardian was not shy in declaring it "one of the best shark movies ever made." The praise continues across the Atlantic where writer Stephen King said on X that he enjoyed the film. "I thought Sous la Seine would be a fun movie like Sharknado, but Twitter convinced me to watch it and it is really very good. The last 25 minutes are insane," he wrote. Despite the criticisms, given the commercial success of "Sous la Seine," we might expect a sequel...