Le Bonheur est dans le Pre

Relax and enjoy it! Profitez! There is no better method to express the way to watch this film as well as the message it relates.

The moment the first image appears on the screen we are hoisted head first into the turbulent events running amuck in Francis' (Michel Serrault) life; his toilet seat factory is going bankrupt, his workers are threatening strike action, the tax man is on his heels, his wife (Sabina Azema) nags him constantly and his daughter (Alexandra London) is no reason to rejoice. In fact, the only aspect of his life that offers any moment of relief is the pleasant relationship, not to mention the gourmet meals, he shares with his lover, Gerard (Eddy Mitchell). Then, unexpectedly, during an intimate repast in their favorite restaurant Francis has a stroke and winds up with his face in a dish of kidneys. Life, however, will not only continue for Francis, but take a turn that opens up new and wonderful worlds to him. The result could quite possibly include not only a breath of fresh air, but the closest thing to heaven on earth. The chain of events is brought about one evening when a woman (Carmen Maura) from the town of Condom appears on a TV talk show with her two daughters (Guilaine Londez and Virginie Darmon) to plead for assistance in the search for her missing husband of 28 years. To reveal any more than this would be blasphemy. The madcap chaos flies forward quicker than the speed of laughter on a cinematic journey during which each moment should be cherished.

Director Etienne Chatiliez, familiar to French audiences through his highly praised La Vie es un Long Fleuve Tranquille and Tatie Danielle, delivers a masterful satire. Michel Serrault is as faultless as ever and the entire cast, including first-class performances by Mitchell, Azema, and Maura, manages to keep the enchantment flowing. (Many will doubtlessly be attending the film for the first onscreen performance of Eric Cantona.)

A charming piece of idiosynchratic French comedy expressing and discovering truths encountered too seldom in many lives. What can I say? Profitez!


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