Adieu Les Cons (Bye Bye Morons) came out tops at the 2021 César Awards at the Olympia concert hall in Paris, winning six awards including Best Film, Cinematography and Production Design. Its writer/director Albert Dupontel picked up Césars for Best Director and Best Original Screenplay but missed out on Best Actor, which went to Sami Bouajila in Un Fils/A Son. Dupontel’s fellow cast member Nicolas Marié got the Best Supporting Actor.
Three films dominated the nominations: Emmanuel Mouret’s Les Choses Qu’On Dit, Les Choses Qu’On Fait – Love Affair(s) in English – scored 13 nominations but won just one, Adieu Les Cons got 12 (including Virginie Efira for Best Actress), as did Été 85 (Summer of 85), which came away empty handed. I saw all three films in the opening week of the 2021 Alliance Française French Film Festival in Australia and enjoyed them all equally,
That said, I’m not surprised that Adieu Les Cons triumphed. It’s a stylish dark comedy – events are spurred by a comically botched suicide attempt and a dying woman’s quest to find her adopted son – but it’s so witty, inventive and good-natured, at times almost slapstick, that it doesn’t feel like a dark film at all.
There are also touching love stories layered within it, and it’s bitingly satirical in parts, particularly in its depictions of the inane banalities of bureaucratic office work. The scene where a computer hacker manipulates the exterior lifts of a swank new office building, almost as if he were playing pinball, had me in stitches.
Adieu Les Cons is definitely the must-see film of the French Film Festival this year. You can read more about it on the festival website.
What is a ‘con’ in French?
Con is a problematic word for students of French because it can be very vulgar and has to be used with care.
- As you can see from the English version of the film title, con as a noun can mean a moron, imbecile, idiot, stupid jerk, goddam idiot etc. Going to a different extreme, it’s also a vulgar word for vagina.
- It can be used as an adjective: il est con, elle est conne means he or she is bloody stupid or even fucking stupid.
- Faire le con can mean to mess about, muck around, arse around.
- à la con means lousy, shitty, crap; for example une voiture à la con – a shitty car
- c’est con means how stupid, how idiotic.
- avoir l’air con means to look stupid.