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Das Leben ist ein Fest (La sens de la fȇte) ****

This could be called “One day in the life of Max.” Wedding planner Max (Bacri) is used to unexpected catastrophes and unreliable participants. But the nuptials of Pierre (Benjamin Lavernhe) and Helena (Judith Chemla) takes Max to new limits of coping to achieve what is supposed to be the wedding of the year. Egoistic Pierre believes himself to be the boss with all the right answers. Helper Julien (Macaigne) recognizes Helena as his former heartthrob. The substitute band director, James (Lellouche), insists on playing only his own music. Photographer Guy (Rouve) detests wedding guests crowding around to click selfies, but instant attraction between him and the groom’s mother rescues him from gloom. Max’s helper Adele (Haidara) easily flies off the handle; later, an infatuation between her and James causes them both to drop all responsibility, literally. By the end of the day, the electricity has gone out; the food has gone bad; Max’s private love life has gone downhill.

This French comedy sounds seriously difficult, but it truly is a comedy, much as we already have experienced from directors Oliver Nakache and Eric Toleano in their popular film Intouchables (in German: Ziemlich beste Freunde). The site is a beautiful castle near Paris (actually Courances Castle Fontainebleau, built in the 16th century and converted to Louis XIII style). The special jazz music composed by Avishai Cohen carries the story, as well as the 1967 Frankie Valli pop song “Can’t take my Eyes off of You.” Here is a chance to see a team of excellent French actors and perhaps relate to some of the events. Have you ever heard of a wedding custom where one waves white napkins during the wedding dinner (something groom Pierre definitely forbids)? (Becky Tan)

 France/Canada/Belgium 2017

Opening February 1, 2018

Directed by: Eric Toledano, Olivier Nakache

Writing credits: Eric Toledano, Olivier Nakache

Principal actors: Jean-Pierre Bacri, Gilles Lellouche, Jean-Paul Rouve, Vincent Macaigne, Eye Haidara, Alban Ivanov

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