News from the Locarno Festival

Et si on vivait tous ensemble? by Stéphane Robelin

Et si on vivait tous ensemble? by Stéphane Robelin



We opened the festival with young teenagers, in Super 8 and conclude it this evening with « seniors » in Et si on vivait tous ensemble? Which makes perfect sense. Although the protagonists of Stéphane Robelin’s film do not encounter any extra-terrestrials, their adventures, despite being more everyday, involving love, friendship, sickness, desire and courage, are no less unusual.

Two couples and a bachelor, all old friends, are facing the ravages of old age, when one of them suggests: « What about us all living together? » Their communal life-style has a highly rejuvenating effect, but also brings old secrets to the fore and provokes a series of little dramas. Stéphane Robelin breaks a taboo in making a comedy drama about the issues affecting the process of ageing, which are not always that funny: the fear of death, but above all physical decline, humiliation, loneliness and the spectre of retirement homes.

The film succeeds because it does not sink into gloom, pathos, or farce, but treats its subject with a great deal of perceptiveness and tact, helped by the enthusiasm and perfect pitch of a surprisingly high-profile cast: Jane Fonda (in her first film in French since Godard and Gorin’s Tout va bien) is married to Pierre Richard, Guy Bedos to Geraldine Chaplin, while Claude Rich plays a colourful and self-deluding elderly Lothario. The group is joined by Daniel Brühl, an ethnology student who is writing a thesis on ageing.

This highly impressive cast brings a great deal of charm and feeling to a film that is as likely to appeal to the young (who will one day grow old) as much as to their elders.

Olivier Père
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