The French film La chance de ma vie, included in this year’s Cuban French Film Festival, is one of those films people love because of its deeply romantic story, touched with brushstrokes of humor that balance the plot to make it more dynamic.
For some time now, French cinema has been changing to widen its horizons to fire up the audience more; so much so that today, the French watch more nationally produced films than those from the other side of the Atlantic.
As a result, there’s been an opening for previously rejected cinematographic genres like comedy – including those with an optimistic drift that appeal above all to the spectators’ entertainment more than their understanding.
Several formulas have begun to be used inside the boom of this genre, such as the comedy of friendly get-togethers, full of famous actors, with simple dialogues and lacking a deep background, using silly and witty situations to socialize and bring out psychological and familial questions. There’s also the classic romantic comedy with its standardized Hollywood happy ending, though this ending is less reverted to and tries to stick to reality a bit, all with a predominance of feelings, love, marriage and the idyllic perfect mate.
The French Film Festival, held in Cuba for 15 years now, has also witnessed this evolution of comedy in the European country and on this occasion has gotten in tune with the demands of today’s audience.
La chance de ma vie is one of those films people love because of its deeply romantic story, touched with brushstrokes of humor that balance the plot to make it more dynamic.
The film, a French-Belgian co-production premiered in 2010, narrates the ups and downs of Julien Monnier – played by François-Xavier Demaison - a couples’ counselor who, despite his good fortune at work, can’t keep a woman because bad luck with them has dogged him since childhood. However, as in all good love stories, his life changes when he meets the beautiful Joanna – played by the young actress Virginie Efira.
The film, awarded the Best Film and Best Actress (Virginie Efira) awards at the Monte-Carlo Comedy Film Festival, is, as main actor François-Xavier Demaison says: “a film with a subtle but universal humor that recreates situations and reaches a higher number of audiences.”
Both stars came from others careers, with implications and forms of expression in certain ways different than cinematography.
Belgian actress Virginie Efira started her career as a TV hostess on national and local stations, until in the first years of the 21st century, she became the main star of the French M6 entertainment channel. Nonetheless, in 2010 she ended her TV career to dedicate herself to the cinema, “her real passion.”
For this young actress, “comedy is a very noble genre that works in France today and is very well financed. The film has been positively received because it can provoke many reactions because of the topics it deals with and the way the story develops between the characters.” Efira has already worked in eight films and with legends of the seventh art such as Isabelle Huppert.
François-Xavier Demaison, for his part, is a dedicated actor of French stage comedy. He arrived on the big screen after achieving great success on the stage with his show Pièce pour un acteur et 20 personnages, which ran for four years in various French theaters. According to Demaison, “the cinema in our country [France] has achieved huge successes this last year. There were great films, including comedies that recalled universal patterns with great bursts of creativity. This has given new actors the possibility of drawing attention to themselves, and some have been rewarded because of their courage.”
Both actors agree that it’s always important to approach the director’s sensibility, the script and the situation that the scene and the plot recreate, so the acting accords with what each moment needs.
“Comedy is up to a certain point an attempt not to explain the reality of the world. It’s really a genre that allows a lot of liberties because of the nobility of its inherent character,” Virginie added.
Translated by Yanely Interian García
Revised by CF Ray