They say that truth is stranger than fiction and the truth behind the story
that inspired Jumbo couldn’t be any stranger.
In 2007 Erika La Brie, an American female competitive archer and advocate
for object sexuality become Erika “Aya” Effel after she married the Eiffel
Tower. If that wasn’t strange enough, it seems that Jumbo isn’t the first
time that her life has been transferred to art, her 20 year relationship
with the Berlin Wall inspired a musical theatre production called “Erika’s
Now Belgian writer-director Zoé Wittock's puts her twist on the tale with
Jumbo a story about a young woman (Noémie Merlant) who falls in love with a
fairground ride she calls, not surprisingly, Jumbo.
It’s hard to say what line Wittocks taking with her story, is it part
comedy, is it a drama, is it a tale of mental health, which it really
should be, or is it a mixture of all three? I suppose everyone will take
something different from this rather eccentric story.
Merlant, given what she has to work with, is excellent. It can’t have been
easy, in a scene that has to be seen to believed, to cover yourself in oily
hydraulic fluid and simulate making love to a fairground ride.
The visuals in Jumbo are stunning as Wittock makes great use of lighting
and the fairground setting. As for the story, if it hadn’t happened you
would never have believed it.