Le monde secret de la petite brique Lego [The secret world of the little Lego brick] (2017)

(On TV, April 2017) This may be the first (and so far only) English-language review of the French TV documentary Le monde secret de la petite brique Lego. Being in the middle of a Lego rediscovery, I’m tracking down the most unlikely exposés about the topic, and this 90-minute special found its way through a French TV channel broadcast to the Saint Pierre and Miquelon Island and made available by my cable provider here in the Ottawa area. Who would have thought? In any case, much of this documentary is not particularly revelatory if you’re already an Adult Fan of Lego—it covers familiar bases (the design of sets, the marketing strategy, the educational applications, the adult fandom, the brickfilms, and so on) but it has the particularity of doing it from a very French perspective, avoiding many of the familiar touchstones of English-language Lego fandom. So it is that we get to look inside Nexo Knights set design through French designer Frédéric André (with a fun kids-testing segment and a solid-gold look at the Lego master set vault), discuss online Lego fandom with Hothbrick.com’s Will and talk about the realities (ie; bargain-hunting) of Lego collecting with adult fan/father Gilles, among many other purely French examples. The overall tone is sympathetic to Lego and its fans (but who doesn’t like Lego?), and while one or two inaccurate details had me raising my eyebrows, much of the documentary is solid from a factual point of view. From a French-Canadian perspective, the lack of captioning was not an advantage—French on both sides of the Atlantic diverges more than English does, and European French tends to be far more verbose than American French. Still, as a uniquely French look at a global phenomenon, Le monde secret de la petite brique Lego is decent enough as a TV documentary, and offers a few things that even gold-standard Lego: A Brickumentary didn’t.

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