It was unimaginable that in the centre of Europe where two world wars took place, half a century later integration of economies and laws between the involved countries will happen. Nothing to Declare (Rien à déclarer) is a humorous take on the events leading up to the implementation of the eurozone. The Franco-Belgian comedy doesn’t take place in Brussels or Paris but in a small village that is part of both countries. The officers featured are not leaders, but two customs officers on the border checkposts. The film narrates how the commoners are affected by the noble ideals of the European Union. It gets a Ripe rating in Mangoidiots for being an enjoyable comedy.
It is going to be the 1st of January 1993, and the customs border between France and Belgium is going to be done away with. The officers on both sides of the border, unsure of what to do afterwards, and what will happen to their jobs react in their own peculiar ways. In a tiny village that has both nationals living, the approaching deadline creates an uneasy calm. The local businesses like a cafe run by a couple face a bleak future, as without any customs check, there will be no lines of cars which will result in no hungry customers driving them.
I have read about Belgium and its peculiarities in the book “Punjabi Parmesan”. I am aware that both the Dutch and French languages and the associated cultures are given equal importance in this country. This film shows the delicate balance through the eyes of a Francophobe Belgian customs officer Ruben Vandevoorde, played masterfully by Benoît Poelvoorde. His counterpart is a composed French officer Mathias Ducatel, played equally well by Dany Boon. The tiny car the two purchase on their own funds in order to do joint patrols was itself hilarious.
Enjoy this fine cinema.