Wednesday, March 25, 2020
La Belle Epoque – France
Showtimes: 6:30 & 8:40 pm
Director: Nicolas Bedos
Cast: Daniel Auteuil, Guillaume Canet, Doria Tillier, Fanny Ardant
Running Time: 115 minutes
Language: French with English subtitles
Palm Springs International Film Festival, ‘Directors to Watch’ Award: Nicolas Bedos. Best Film Nominations: Globes de Cristal Awards, France, Haifa International Film Festival, Hamburg Film Festival. Six other nominations.
“A sweet, inventive…romantic-comedy crowdpleaser that deftly balances hearty laughs and heartwarming emotion.”—Allan Hunter, Screen International.
This high-concept comedy from Nicolas Bedos (Mr. & Mrs. Adelman) shrewdly taps into society’s current technological anxieties and everyone’s most basic desire to revisit the glory days. Starring Daniel Auteuil, Fanny Ardant, and Guillaume Canet, La Belle Époque blurs historical eras while tracking a charismatic curmudgeon’s existential reckoning.
Victor (Auteuil) is a sexagenarian cartoonist whose long-time publisher has eliminated their print edition and, with it, his gig. No fan of Artificial Intelligence or Virtual Reality, Victor likes turning pages, touching flesh, and seeing what’s actually before him. Alas, what’s before him is a resentful wife, Marianne (Ardant), who can no longer stand him. “I think you’ve been alive too long,” Marianne confesses during one of her rages.
Longing to escape the present, Victor opts to return to the past — or some semblance of it. Enter Time Travellers, a service that immerses clients in a painstaking reenactment of whatever historical moment its actors, designers, and builders can conjure.
Victor hires Time Travellers to return him to May 16, 1974, the day he first met Marianne in a Lyon café. He finds himself beguiled by every detail, from the vintage editions of Libération to the punchy plastic egg holders to Margo (Doria Tillier), the actress he accepts as the Marianne he fell for 45 years ago. It feels like a beautiful dream. But what happens when it’s time to wake up?
Recalling the films of Charlie Kaufman, La Belle Époque invites us to peer into the past, consider how it made us who we are, and to muse on who we might still aspire to be.