We actually want more time with these fascinating people.
During the student demonstrations of 1968 Paris, Catherine (Casta) is pregnant with the child of her boyfriend Yves (Renier) and living in free-love happiness with their friend Herve (Tregouet). They help set up a commune in a country farmhouse, getting to know local farmers Serge and Maryse (Citti and Citti).
Years pass, Yves has moved to Paris to teach and a next generation of kids, including Catherine's son Boris (Frilet), is living out their dreams in a world their parents helped create. New issues challenge them, including marriage, children and Aids.
The film is packed with characters who are lively and energetic, and extremely well-played. They quickly come and go from each others' lives over 40 years, with potent scenes along the way that vividly highlight both the issues of the times and the connections between these people. Most vivid is the film's early section, with its collision of political issues and social challenges. Ducastel and Martineau present this with extraordinary affection, as a group of young people push the boundaries in an effort to live a full life in a corrupt, violent world.
As the plot begins to leap forwards in time, characters emerge and grow up before we really get to know them, coming together, falling apart, questioning themselves and learning big truths in brief bursts of screen time. The filmmakers originally made this as a pair of two-hour movies for French television, but even more time would deepen the experience, putting major world events that punctuate the story into more personal context.
This makes many things resonate strongly, such as the right-wing LePen during the notorious 2007 election: "You killed authority in 1968, and now France wants a father!" The film may be dialog-heavy, with everyone arguing about what is normal in society: marriage, sexuality, sexual freedom, work, relationships.
But this is a vivid look at how people deal with birth, death, injustice and politics from generation to generation. And how the decisions of the parents affect the children.
Production compaines: Arte France
Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5
Director: Olivier Ducastel, Jacques Martineau
Producer: Lola Gans, Philippe Martin
Screenwriter: Olivier Ducastel, Jacques Martineau