Best French Films - Cinéma Saturday is here!
Last week, we delved into an unusual love story in Mr & Mrs Adelman / M & Mme Adelman (check out that post here, if you missed last week's inaugural Cinema Saturday!). This week, we're going to explore a French film comedy by the incomparable duo Olivier Nackache and Eric Toledano. This week, it's C'est la vie! / Le Sens de la fête (love how the English title is actually in French 😅)
I feel like this week we need some accessible and very funny films - if you're in another lockdown where you live, might I suggest accessing this film right now to give you some comic relief?
Awards nominees in the cast are shown in the gallery below along with many other notable cast members.
Cast & Crew
Directors: Olivier Nackache and Éric Toledano
Cast: Jean-Pierre Bacri, Jean-Paul Rouve, Gilles Lellouche, Vincent Macaigne, Eye Haïdara, Suzanne Clément and Alban Ivanov.
Screenplay: Olivier Nakache and Éric Toledano
Cinematographer: David Chizallet
Awards & Accolades: Nominated for many awards worldwide including 10 César Awards, Best European Film (Mejor Película Europea) for the Goya awards, European Film Award nominee and EFA People's Choice Award nominee.
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Romance
Thirty years in the business as a caterer and wedding/events coordinator has taken its toll on Max. Between meeting potential wedding clients and trying to adapt to their budgets, we follow Max and the team in their preparations for a grand wedding at a beautiful 17th century chateau near Paris. This could be the contract to help save the business from failure. As usual, Max has hired his team of waiters/waitresses, chefs, cleaners and pot-washers, photographer, wedding band and florists - in fact, all of the details to make a success of the occasion. However, things do not go smoothly and at every turn there could be a mishap to make the occasion a veritable disaster for Max and for the Bride and Groom, Hélèna and Pierre. From dawn to the late night partying, there is not a moment of rest for the team who must "adapt" to survive and succeed in meeting or exceeding their particular client's demands. Can they pull it off? Can they provide the right sense of occasion? Do they know how to throw a great party?
What I liked about this film
This riotous, buzzy (but never overwhelming) comedy is so much fun! The perfect pick-me-up, it follows the incomparable (sadly, late) Jean-Pierre Bacri as Max, in charge of a rather disorderly company of waiters, chefs, kitchen staff and wedding photographer trying desperately to rely on the team to pull-off a high society wedding at a large chateau near Paris. Will the chateau wedding preparations go well? How will the team cope with enforced period costume uniforms, fireworks displays and last-minute changes to bands, food and much more? Max would say "we adapt", but how can they adapt if they don't know how to?
Witty and immensely fun, this film follows all that last-minute stress of wedding planning, preparation and "can-they-pull-it-off" without ever falling into an overwhelming pace or too much schmaltz. Max has been running this company for many years, without a great profit it seems, which leads to plenty of employment gags (who's being paid on the books and who's a guest?) including a moonlighting police officer and a literary teacher who'd rather be wearing pyjamas than waiting tables. As well as Bacri's immensely lovable Max who centres all of the action, there are brilliant performances from his assistant who can't control her rage or swearing (played effervescently by Eye Haïdara, who was nominated for the César for Most Promising Actress) and Gilles Lellouche as the wedding band frontman. Oh my, the soundcheck to end all sound checks! His superb portrayal of a kind of "Euro pop" frontman singing in made-up languages (while sounding like an Eros Ramazotti tribute singer except not actually in Italian) is absolutely scene-stealing. All actually sung by Gilles Lellouche, it's immense fun and as an anglophone it's always amusing when French people speaking French throw in bizarre, anglicised names for things. Watch it and you'll see exactly what I mean! The wedding band names get me every time in this film. 😂 Every scene is a triumph with every little detail picked up on from tacky leaflets to frontman ego, it's hilarious! The performance garnered Lellouche a César nomination.
Aside from the preparation for the wedding, there are lots of little subplots in this wonderful ensemble cast film. The wedding photographer who'll only ever shoot on film, hates all people who take photographs with their phones and eats an awful lot of the canapés takes round his intelligent work experience student with all the insight and awareness of a wedding cake.
For the wedding and party, there are sublime moments of sheer beauty, absolute hilarity and a great sense of camaraderie that comes from working together. The evening party has scenes of that might cause side-splitting laughter and I remember watching this film in a cinema where everyone was laughing uncontrollably. We need some of that right now!
The film is well-paced, very funny and beautiful to look at, so if you need a comedy to lighten your spirits, this is a little gem to stream or buy.
Now get your napkin and start twirling to the soundtrack, you won't regret it. (You can listen here)
Where to Find It
Available on Spotify.
Available on CD and Amazon Prime streaming in various countries.
CD in France/EU:
Amazon Prime streaming:
Watch at Home
US (region 2 DVD): Amazon*
Available on iTunes/ Apple TV (could be region dependent)
UK Amazon Bluray and DVD
EU/France DVD & Amazon Prime video streaming
Have you seen this film? Did you like it? Let me know what you thought by email: hello at francewhereyouare dot com or over on social media.
I love to talk cinema!
And when they're closed, I love to talk home cinema. 😉