"J'suis snob" reads a shirt in a Vicomte-A boutique, while Viscount Arthur de Soultrait - the Vicomte A himself - stands on a balcony, caught up in a conversation about how to improve his stagnant brand. It's just one of many telling moments in BUSINESS CLUB that speak to the observational powers of filmmakers Chloé Mahieu and Lila Pinell.
BUSINESS CLUB is a brilliant portrait of de Soultrait and the world he lives in. He is an aristocrat who plays up his family's links to royalty for Chinese and American investors, a somewhat hapless businessman who doesn't seem to understand the basics of branding, and a multimillionaire who bobs his head to hip-hop while driving - in a moment reminiscent of the opening scene in Office Space.
Vicomte-A is struggling. Sales are down, and the brand has to refocus while the company expands into new markets. But is a French aristocrat the person best positioned to decide how to sell clothes to the great unwashed in overseas French Departments and the Middle East?
Like a French version of The Queen of Versailles, BUSINESS CLUB is given extraordinary access to the wealthy, and creates a compelling portrait without editorializing or ridiculing. In one particularly memorable sequence, the camera stays on de Soultrait looking uncomfortable and out of place as conversation swirls around him at a posh dinner in Hong Kong with a potential investor. In another scene, the filmmakers capture the patently absurd spectacle of a multimillionaire aristocrat celebrating his birthday in a purple faux-hawk while wearing a suit with the anarchist "A" symbol on its back.
BUSINESS CLUB is a great piece of filmmaking that captures a business at a crossroads, and a man of great wealth and privilege awkwardly trying to fit in.
"A glimpse into the gilded corridors of 21st-century privilege, Chloé Mahieu and Lila Pinell's Business Club breathes bubbly new energy into the tired fly-on-the-wall sub-genre. Intimately observing French aristocrat-cum-entrepreneur Arthur de Soultrait in the run-up to his wildly elaborate 32nd birthday party, it's a subtly devastating portrait of both an individual and the class he epitomizes." —The Hollywood Reporter
Special Mention, 2015 RIDM Montreal Documentary Film Festival
2015 FID Marseille Documentary Film Festival
2015 Visions du Réel Documentary Film Festival