Toasts to death and burial mine contest … Claude Lelouch, 83, wanted to make us laugh at death with his 50th film. Entitled Love is better than life, this comedy was applauded Thursday evening by the public in Deauville. “It’s a film that feels good. We talk a lot about death. And we come out happy. There’s something soothing about saying ‘yes death, we all have a date there one day. Let’s live to the fullest. This makes us love life even more “, summed up in the night from Thursday to Friday to AFP Sandrine Bonnaire, who plays one of the main roles of the film.
The theatrical release is scheduled for January 19, 2022. Death, “We will not be able to escape it. So I prefer to go there singing. I want her to find me sympathetic”, for his part confided to AFP Claude Lelouch, 83 years old, “It’s a film about life. Death is part of life.”
Thursday evening, the audience of the 1,500-person auditorium of the Deauville American Film Festival rose to cheer at length for this comedy, announced as the first part of a trilogy. “Do you want the continuation?”, Claude Lelouch launched. “Yes !!”, exclaimed the audience. Before the screening dedicated to Jean-Paul Belmondo, the filmmaker had warned that there would only be a continuation funded by a success of the first part. In October 2020, he said about this 50th film that he “wanted” whether “the last”.
Incorrigible smoker, Gérard (Darmon) has just learned that he has little time left to live. In front of his relatives, the widowed retiree tries to welcome the news with philosophy and humor. But his inseparable friends Philippe (Lellouche) and Ary (Abittan), very affected, decide to offer him his last love story by going to see an escort-girls agency. Because Gérard has always repeated that “love is better than life”. The director of the agency Sandrine (Bonnaire) proposes to go herself to try to seduce the one that her friends present as an advanced sexagenarian.
After filming the beauty of old age in The best years of a life (2019), Claude Lelouch thus tackles death with humor. We laugh at Gérard’s insolence who improvises a mini funeral mine contest or toast “to death” much to the chagrin of his friends. We smile at the recurrent irruption of a man with the allure of Jesus of the 21st century (Xavier Inbona) who discreetly works miracles.
Miracles are also for the spectators who see with emotion Robert Hossein incarnate the father of Gérard. “We were very lucky to tour with Robert Hossein a few days before his death” December 31, 2020, specifies Claude Lelouch, “it is overwhelming”. And when Gérard evokes the meeting of his parents, the prince of popular theater finds his youth alongside Nicole Garcia in an extract from Each other (nineteen eighty one). Even Lino Ventura, who plays Sandrine’s father (whom she did not know), emerges from the past via extracts from Adventure is adventure and of Happy New Year…
The death, “It is a promotion of lives after lives (…) through the recycling game. My children and my grandchildren are smarter than me. They have more lives”, confides the filmmaker who received a Palme d’Or in Cannes and two Oscars in Hollywood for A man and a woman. Other pills against the fear of death, the few danced and sung shows, which the characters attend, give this comedy musical points. the Covid rode, but relegated to the background, with sometimes masked characters. “I wanted to mark the time of the film. The film was shot with the Covid which showed that it is not that important”, believes the filmmaker.