French comedy on Russian homophobia filmed in Ukraine


“The Revenge of the Shiny Shrimps” follows an all-queer water polo team that lands in homophobic Russia. But the scenes had to be shot in Ukraine, before the war. The fictional water LGBTQ polo team portrayed in the hit French comedy, “The Shiny Shrimps,” was inspired by an actual group of people who practice the sport together. When DW met them at their Wednesday evening training in southern Paris, they were still warming up, all wearing bathing caps with bright orange plastic ear coverings. “You have to cover your opponent, and you have to do it with body contact,” coach Sebastien Beysson told the athletes before they started playing. “Body contact is no problem,” one of the players replied, and the others giggled. A whistle then kicked off the game. Half the team worked to get the ball into the opposing team’s goal as many times as possible, while the other half sat on the substitutes’ bench on the sidelines. The first film inspired by the Shiny Shrimps came out in 2019; now its sequel, “The Shiny Shrimps Strike Back,” has been released in France and will soon be screened at international festivals. All while centering on the world of LGBTQ water polo, the new comedy also illustrates the culture clash that separates Russia from Europe and Ukraine.

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