Monday, 9 April 2012

Et si on vivait tous ensemble?, Stephane Robelin, France 2011

Et si on vivait tous ensmble? is a light, entertaining comedy about the pitfalls of getting old, much along the lines of Bette Davis' adage that old age ain't no place for sissies.

A bunch of elderly people - friends, who've known each other for decades - decide that it would be best for all concerned if they lived together. What follows is that after the pitfalls of getting old (and sick - Alzheimer' Cancer, etc.), we're now privy to the pitfalls of being old and living in a house-share. Robelin's film is not so much a revelation or a hilarious comedy as it is a film which besides attracting an audience above the age 20 (a rarity in today's film production!), addresses a topic which has never received a great deal of attention from film makers - getting old - probably because it's something none of wants to dwell on for too long, secretly hoping probably, that by ignoring the topic it'll go away or at least, spare us. Thing is, it won't, and the best thing - besides assembling such a stellar cast of actors! - that can be said about Robelin's film is that it does confront us with this admittedly uncomfortable question. And yet the example in the film clearly demonstrates that there are indeed alternatives to spending one's last remaining years whithering away alone and forsaken in a nursing home ... and who ever set foot - or volunteered - in nursing home knows, that ending there is indeed something that must be avoided at all cost. After facing the fact that living alone is no longer an option, but nor is checking into a nursing home, Chaplin, Fonda & Co. opt for a very viable, not to mention much more humane, alternative which, hopefully, will be widely replicated across the world in the years to come.

About the stellar cast. I've always been an admirer of both Chaplin and Fonda, and not just because they're both great actresses and great and gracious personalities. Moreover, they are prime examples of what's referred to as ageing gracefully. There are no faces distorted by Botox here, nor any other facial or otherwise physical alteration that suggests plastic surgery. Both actresses have their share of wrinkles - but they look all the better and all the more real for it! It enables them not only to still get roles, but to play roles that are worthy of their talent - and age.

I just wish, some of those faded Hollywood Divas who've since turned into veritable freaks would have taken their cue from Fonda and Chaplin before they had their faces and bodies tinkered with, butchered and mutilated beyond recognition!