The Good Life (2013) Poster

(2013)

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Band on the run.
dbdumonteil7 August 2015
This story may be incredible in contemporary France but it is based on a true story ,'the Fortin affair " ,and the father and his two sons were "on the run" from 1997 to 2009;for the record ,the "guilty" father was sentenced to two months imprisonment without remission.

Jean Denizot proclaims Renoir 's influence and he makes a wonderful use of the Loire valley,quiet places where you can shun a world that has made you outcasts (the girl hints at a nuclear power plant,probably that of Chinon,and that's all) .The movie focuses on the last year of this fringe family unit,when strained relationship between them begins :the older son ,who complains he's "still a Virgin lad" , disappears early in the movie before reappearing for an admirable scene : the youngest boy compares the lit up windows of a building to an "Advent Calendar" which the schoolteacher brought to her class:he left when it was his turn to open a window.

The screenwriters do not pass judgment on their characters: dad is a good man ,he lives for his children and -some call it emotional blackmail but it is not so ,for his children can return to their mom if they want to- he will give himself up,should they leave him.As for the mother ,we learn she is a "bourgeois" ,she is educated ,but she is never really blamed : the director avoids being biased and that may explain the abrupt ending.

But Jean Denizot was also influenced by Terence Malick and he tried to infuse American elements into his movie:"La Loire is our Mississipi"he reportedly said So,hello Huck Finn and moon river !IMHO,it's irrelevant:his movie does not sound American at all,and he succumbs to an usual contemporary vice: there're three country-folk cuts in the soundtrack,in English of course , whereas there ARE plenty of French old folk songs or contemporary works such as those of singer Renaud which deal with childhood nostalgia :"La Pêche A La Ligne ",notably, would suit the movie nicely

"La Belle Vie" (the title was borrowed from a Sacha Distel song,mentioned in the final cast and credits ,but not heard in the movie),despite some reservations,is an endearing work,and the Young actors ,the two boys and the girl give convincing performances ,if only for their spontaneity;Nicolas Bouchaud is a moving dad,tired of the world,who still tries to smile through the pain and to enjoy simple things ,like eating fish in front of a campfire ,even if he does not know what tomorrow will bring;it 's really the outcast against the whole world,but ,and it is much to Denizot's credit,he never feels sorry for himself and his son's last words show that he is proud of his rebel dad .

Not to be mistaken for Robert Enrico's eponymous movie (1963)

Like this? try this.....

"Un week-End Sur Deux" (Nicole Garcia,1990)
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OK French family in the wild piece.
Mozjoukine30 October 2014
A father defying a court order has taken his two sons on the run, living out of a couple of caravans in the Loire valley. An early and revealing moment has him slap a cigarette out of the mouth of the 17 year old and tell him "no service comes without a tree dies or a man toils." The kids are feeling the isolation and take the horse into town, bringing the locals out in pursuit and starting the trio on the run again. Dad and the younger boy escape in a moored river punt (a bit of Huck Finn here) and the kid encounters a bikini girl angler, eventually facing him with a choice - at a cross roads yet.

Strong Performances, nice conflict of lyrical setting and hostile events and issues that we haven't seen in a movie before. Sympathy swinging between the parents is something new.

More subtle and probably better than the similar U.S. RUNNING ON EMPTY.
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