“I try to make films that move people when they are in the theater and make them think only after they leave.” Claude Berri
L’un reste, L’autre part is the story of two old time friends, both in their fifties, both married, who fall for two younger women. The cast is nothing less than stellar: Daniel Auteuil, Nathalie Baye, Pierre Arditi, Miou-Miou and Charlotte Gainsbourg
Attal’s real-life wife, Charlotte Gainsbourg, appears as one of two romantic foils a character drama in which over-middle-age men fall in love with younger women and must confront the ramifications of ending their marriages (one does and one doesn’t, or so the title would have you believe).
Festival managing director summed it up perfectly when she stated before the screening of this film that it was director Claude Berri (Jean de Florette, Un Femme de Menage) at his best and that the film was a perfect example of a French comedy. This story could only happen in France. The combination of tragedy, love, adultery, comedy, and angst seems to be done to perfection by the French. In any other country we would not believe that people would let their lives be turned so upside down in the name of love. The direction in a film like this is critical. Berri cannot let the story become too improbable so that the audience does not believe it at all. He does a great job of keeping the situation just on the edge.
It is amazing how this skilled director and set of actors can make us believe that the film is a comedy when really the root of the film is that no one is happy and all are suffering in their lives. I have not laughed so much at such a sad tale. There are no twists or turns in the film and everything turns out as you would expect it to, but it still manages to keep you wanting to know what will happen next. Every character is completely self-absorbed and yet we find ourselves liking them. Much of the praise has to go to the excellent cast from the young sons, to the ‘other’ women to the middle aged Casanovas, they all are good in their roles.
Daniel (Daniel Auteuil – Cache, The Widow of Saint-Pierre) and Alain (Pierre Arditi – star of many French television series) are both middle aged men who are successful in their careers and have been married nearly 20 years. Though they both seem to have it all neither is happy. Alain has been having an affair with his much younger assistant, Farida (Aissa Maiga – The Russian Dolls) and his wife Fanny (Nathalie Baye – Catch Me If You Can) and sister Nicole (Noemie Lvovsky – La Sentinelle) suspect him. He is stressed because Farida wants him to tell Fanny and Fanny is always trying to catch him in a lie. Daniel’s son Julien (Nicolas Lebovici – first film) has been in a motorcycle accident and is left partially paralysed. During his grief one day at work he meets Judith (Charlotte Gainsbourg – 21 Grams, My Wife is An Actress), with whom he has an instant attraction to. They begin an affair even though both are married and Daniel thought he was happy with his wife Isabelle (Laure Duthilleul – star of several French television series). Their lives become a series of lies, close calls and stress. Neither seems to have enough time to do what they really want to. Is this what love is all about?
Daniel finally leaves his wife, Isabelle, despite the problem that this separation causes for their thirteen-year-old son. Whereas Alain renounces his love for the beautiful Farida and decides to stay with his wife, Fanny, despite the desperate efforts and destructive behavior of his sister-in-law who tries to drive them apart. Through the male characters, the film expresses the hesitation, doubts and illusions that love, passion and guilt provoke when they occur at a time when life has already carved out its path. One will leave, the other will stay.
700MB | 1h 34m | 640×272 | avi