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Film / Final Cut

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Final Cut (originally titled Coupez! - Cut! - in French) is a French comedy directed by Michel Hazanavicius. It is a French remake of the Japanese film One Cut of the Dead and stars Romain Duris and Bérénice Bejo.

In an abandonned building, the shooting of a zombie flick nearly comes to an end, but the actress can't act the last scene. The director throws a tantrum while the makeup artist tries to patch things up while telling them about a rumour regarding the filming location's cursed history. Suddenly, crew members are turned into zombies. This was planned by the director who wanted the best setting for a horror film. Lo and behold, the main actress manages to survive.

"And... cut!" That was a wrap for Z.

Z is a film directed by Rémi Bouillon. Rémi (Romain Duris) is a director whose motto is "fast, not too expensive, middle of the road". Thanks to his producer friend Mounir, he is asked to direct the French remake of a Japanese B-movie which was a success in its native country (one catch is that the movie will be shot live for the premiere of a streaming platform). Rémi is reluctant, but in an effort to please his daughter Manon, he accepts.

The story of Final Cut is structured in three acts: Z, the events leading up to the conception of Z, and the filming of Z.

Not to be confused with The Final Cut starring Robin Williams or the Pink Floyd album.

For clarity's sake, this page specifies if a trope is related to the film Z or Final Cut.

This film provides examples of:

  • The Alcoholic: In Final Cut, Philippe tries to remain sober after years of drinking... until he drinks bottles of sake on the day of Z's shooting.
  • Apocalyptic Log: In Z, Higurashi records his last moments before getting axed to death by Chinatsu.
  • Ax-Crazy: In Z, Natsumi becomes one after the horror begins, although this is also caused by Nadia's acting going out of hand. Additionally, she actually uses an axe to kill whoever stands in her way.
  • Bad Influencer: Downplayed in Final Cut with Ava who is clingy about anything in the shooting that could affect her appearance and thus her social media image.
  • Beware the Living: In Z, Natsumi turns to be just as dangerous as the zombies by trying to beat up or even kill anyone who stands in her way.
  • Big Guy, Little Guy: A female example with Miss Matsuda (little) and her translator (tall).
  • Bowdlerise: The film was initially titled Z, just like the name of the zombie film directed by Rémi, but it was changed due to the symbolism of the letter Z in the context of Russia's invasion of Ukraine (a Z is painted on Russian military vehicles and has been used as a symbol of supports towards Vladimir Putin).
  • The Cameo: By Quentin Dupieux.
  • Capitalism Is Bad: In Final Cut, Raphaël complains about the initial script of Z and prefers to see zombies as dehumanized products of society. When he is asked to improv his lines during the filming of Z, he makes an anticapitalist rant at one of the zombies.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • The axe of "Z". First mentioned as a dangerous prop and later proven to be useful as a zombie-killing/murdering weapon.
    • In Final Cut, Rémi has a picture of him with his daughter riding on his shoulder and holding a camera. During the last minutes of Z, this picture gives Manon the idea to make a human pyramid in order for the aerial shot to happen.
  • Chekhov's Skill: In Z, Natsumi's skills in krav maga are mentionned at the beginning of Z (because the crew asked Nadia to Improv) and later turn out to be useful when she battles zombies.
  • Contagious Laughter: After Rémi is briefed on the project, he starts to laugh out of confusion until everybody in the room laughs along (particularly Miss Matsuda who believes that Rémi is laughing with glee).
  • Downer Ending: In Z, the entire crew is dead, except for Chinatsu who may have been infected.
  • Drinking on Duty: Philippe drinks bottles of sake on the day of Z's shooting, after trying to remain sober for a while.
  • The Ending Changes Everything; The third act which shows how Z was filmed, explains all the flaws and oddities that the audience saw in the first act.
  • Enforced Method Actinginvoked: In Z, Higurashi films his zombie flick in an abandonned building where the Japanese army did experiments on people. The cast panicks over the crew turning into zombies, much to Higurashi's excitement.
  • Executive Veto: In-Universe. In Final Cut, Miss Matsuda asks Rémi to adapt the film as faithful as possible. A day before the shooting, she asks for the characters to keep their original Japanese names, much to the French cast's confusion.
  • Fatal Method Actinginvoked: In Z, Higurashi's idea to film his zombie movie in a cursed abandonned building causes almost the entire cast & crew to turn into zombies and ultimately gets him killed by Chinatsu.
  • Final Girl: Z ends with Chinatsu as the sole survivor (although she has a zombie bite on her leg).
  • Flyaway Shot: The last shot of Z shows Chinatsu standing over a bloody pentagram as the camera lifts off. A crane was supposed to be used for this shot, but it got accidentally destroyed. On Manon's idea, the crew decides to build a human pyramid as a replacement.
  • Foreign Remake: Both as a trivia trope and an In-Universe example. This is the French remake of the Japanese film One Cut of the Dead. In Final Cut, Rémi adapts Z in a French setting until Miss Matsuda asks for the script to be identical to the original film (to the point that the French cast has to use the original Japanese names for their characters, much to their confusion).
  • Gilligan Cut: Rémi is extremely against the idea of casting Nadia in Z. In the next scene, he gleefully announces Nadia as one of the lead actresses.
  • Harpo Does Something Funny: Happens In-Universe with the crew of Z asking the cast (through Talking with Signs) to Improv their dialogue out until something happens.
  • Hostility on the Set: In-Universe. In Final Cut, Rémi and Raphaël argue about the film's script and how zombies are depicted.
  • Improv: Most of the dialogues in Z are improvised due to the technical problems prior to its recording. At one point, a crew member literally asks the cast to improv while they're waiting for something to happen.
  • In-Universe Soundtrack: Played for Laughs in Final Cut when Fatih rehearses his horror movie soundtrack while tension is building up between Rémi and Miss Matsuda.
  • Killed Mid-Sentence: In Z, Higurashi films himself telling a final speech before getting interrupted and axed by Chinatsu who complains about him taking too long.
  • Killed Offscreen: In Z, as Natsumi and Ken start to fight, the camera switches to Chinatsu who keeps screaming for a while. The camera then switches to Natsumi's corpse with the axe on her head. Chinatsu kept screaming because the crew had to take the time to knock out Nadia and put the gory effects on her.
  • Large Ham: Rémi acts this way in "Z", with a rage fueled by his arguments with Raphaël.
  • Leave the Camera Running: Due to the technical incidents happening during the one-shot filming of Z, the camera crew keeps filming while the cast waits for the plot to move on or a special effect to happen. There is a specific scene where the cameraman is stuck by a cable and cannot move, which leaves us with a chasing scene happening off-screen for around a minute.
  • Like Parent, Like Child: Rémi and Manon share a similar passion for filmmaking and being bossy about it.
  • No Stunt Doubleinvoked: Due to Z's low budget and its one-long-shot nature, all stunts are done by the actors, including Raphaël who gets seriously injured by Nadia who goes too far into performing her action scenes.
  • One-Letter Title: Z was the original title of the film before being changed to Final Cut (due to the symbolism of the letter Z as a support towards Vladimir Putin in the Russian invasion of Ukraine). Still, the title Z remains used for the zombie film directed by Rémi Bouillon.
  • One-Word Title: The French title of the film (Cut!) can be viewed as a response to the French title of One Cut of the Dead (Don't Cut).
  • The Oner: Z is filmed live for the premiere of a streaming platform and thus, has to be filmed in one long 30-minute shot.
  • Perpetual Frowner: Philippe only smiles when he talks about his daughter to Rémi (and this trope could be applied to any character played by Grégory Gadebois, frankly).
  • Plot Hole: Some elements of Z don't make sense due to its troubled filming.
    • The axe is left in the building and later appears outside when Natsumi leaves the cabin This happens because Ava forgot to take it with her, so the film crew conveniently moved it).
    Chinatsu: An axe ! What luck !
    • Some of the zombies are locked out and don't get back inside the building, despite the building having many open entrances.
    • The director pops in and out for no reason.
  • Practical Effects: They are obligatory in the context of Z since the film is shot live in one long shot. However, the vomit of Hosoda is real since Philippe drank bottles of sake before the start of the shooting.
    • One FX tool in particular, fake tears, keeps reappearing throughout the film.
  • Production Posse: Played In-Universe with Rémi who has previously casted Phillipe in his films before, as well as having worked with his wife Nadia in the past, and casts them in Z.
  • Pun: A French-exclusive pun in Final Cut is how Raphaël's character is named Ken (which is a Japanese common name, but also French slang for fornicating). This leads to scenes where Ava's lines implicate that she doesn't want to have sex when actually, she just doesn't want to be with Ken.
  • The Remake: Of One Cut of the Dead, a Japanese comedy. This trope also applies In-Universe: Rémi is asked to direct the French adaptation of a Japanese horror flick.
  • Sense-Impaired Monster: The monster that Chinatsu faces in the cabin doesn't seem to have sight and doesn't react to her presence as she shuts her mouth.
  • Serious Business
    • In Z, Higurashi is one tough director who is ready to break any ethical rule, as long as his cast expresses the right emotion.
    • In Final Cut, Nadia takes acting way too seriously (and it's the reason why she hasn't played in a movie for years). She beats up Raphaël thanks to her Krav Maga skills and has to be knocked out so that the filming can continue.
  • Shout-Out:
    • In Final Cut, Manon is off to her job as a crew assistant, telling their parents that her current project is "a mix between Martin Scorsese and Francis Ford Coppola".
    • Manon cites Raphaël as "the French Adam Driver".
    • When Rémi suits up as Higurashi, Fatih compares him to French singer Carlos "with a case of chikungunya".
    • When Manon talks about her mother's acting to Mounir, she tells him about that one time where Nadia had a minor role in a Jean-Claude Van Damme film and actually broke the actor's wrist due to her acting issues.
  • Show Within a Show: The filming of a zombie by Japanese director Higurashi is part of the movie Z, directed by Rémi Bouillon, which is part of Final Cut, directed by Michel Hazanavicius.
    • Outside of Z, Rémi also directs a scripted reality show.
  • The Stinger: A crewmember arrives with a ladder, hoping to replace the crane, before realizing that the filming of Z is over and everyone left.
  • Stock Foreign Name: The characters of Z have Japanese names such as Akira, Ken or Higurashi.
  • Stock Sound Effects: During the filming of Z, while Jonathan has a hard case of diarrhea, various fart noises can be heard in the background while Rémi is thinking about what to do next.
  • Sudden Soundtrack Stop: Some scenes of Z suddenly have no soundtrack at all when an action is expected to happen. This is because the composer Fatih plays the soundtrack in real-time and gets frustrated over the sudden lack of action.
  • Talking with Signs: During the filming of Z, the crew communicates to the cast via handwritten signs.
  • Throw It In!: This is played In-Universe due to the one-continuous-shot nature of Z. Raphaël refers to a character with the wrong name, and Rémi calls Jonathan by his actual name instead of Akira.
  • Title Drop: As Chinatsu axes Higurashi to death, she yells "Cut!" (which is the French title of the film).
  • Toilet Humor: In Final Cut, Jonathan has diarrhea as the filming starts. Leading to an unexpected scene where he storms off the building in order to take a dump. The crew applies zombie makeup on him while he is still passing feces (complemented with stock fart sound effects).
  • Translator Buddy: Miss Matsuda has a Japanese-to-French translator who always stays around her.
  • Troubled Production: This happens In-Universe as two actors of Z are absent on the shooting day, Philippe gets drunk off sake, Jonathan has to take a dump in the middle of the shooting, the cameraman gets stuck and later gets his back broken, Nadia takes her role too seriously and the machinery used for an aerial shot is destroyed.
  • Undead Laborers: In Z, the first zombies are crew members of the film.
  • Vanity Plate: Played for Laughs and exaggerated with the absurd number of production logos at the start of the film, which includes some fake logos that appear later in the film itself.
  • Wag the Director: In-Universe. Raphaël dislikes the script of "Z" and complains about the zombies being humanized.
  • Zombie Gait: Averted in Z with Yamakoshi who can run pretty fast compared to your average zombie.
  • Zombie Infectee: In Z, Chinatsu isn't sure if she got bit by Yamakoshi. Natsumi gets frustrated over that and attempts to kill her.