In “The Belle Epoque” by Nicolas Bedos, Daniel Auteuil travels in time for love

Belle Epoque, second film by Nicolas Bedos, screened out of competition in Cannes is a bitter sweet comedy about the persistence and confusion of feelings in a style reminiscent of Woody Allen.

With The good times, his second film, Nicolas Bedos will make Woody Allen jealous. In a very skilful story of false travels in time, he mixes with the little hair all the ingredients of the master of the comedy in love. Love, disenchantment, humor, nostalgia, trompe-l'oeil and psychoanalysis. Everything is there.

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Victore, about sixty (Daniel Auteuil), is offered to live the period of the past of his choice. A company has specialized in reconstitution personalized from all periods. When others choose to live the glory of Versailles or ask to approach Adolf Hitler, Victor prefers to stick to a specific date of the year 1974. May 16, the day of his meeting with the one who will become his wife ( Fanny Ardant). While the couple is disunited, he remains very in love with her who is tired of this embittered husband, grumbler and procrastinator. But it was not counting on the alter ego of his wife (Dora Tillier) in his 1970s dummy that will upset his feelings …

Nicolas Bedos plays very nostalgically nostalgia by placing the old husband in love in the exact reconstruction of “The Belle Epoque”, the Lyonnais café where the meeting took place, as well as the neighborhood that surrounds it. Election poster Giscard, Blue Mobylette, Solex, France-Evening, Dauphine, Simca 1000 and DS registered in the old fashion in 69, everything is there. Including the moving egg display (six!) Then present on all counters. The decor is obviously cardboard paste but as the customer knows everything about the deception and just ask to lend, the scheme works.

Daniel Auteuil in “The Belle Epoque” (2019 – THE MOVIES OF KIOSK – PATHÉ MOVIES – ORANGE STUDIO)

It is also a common point with many comedies of the master of the Jewish humor New York, Nicolas Bedos speaks filigree of the cinema even if the narrative which puts in scene the director (Guillaume Canet) is never fixed on the film and even if it is intended for a single spectator, also actor of this personalized reconstruction: the customer.

Just as Woody Allen did in many of his films, Bedos places his own companion (Dora Tillier) in the role of the pretty woman whose client will fall in love as she interprets the role of the young wife. The play of Russian dolls is complicated because the young woman lives a passionate relationship with the director, the transparent double of Nicolas Bedos. The latter also plays with the reputation of pretentiousness that he drags since his frequentation of the trays of television. To a collaborator who asks the director “Do you take yourself for God?“, he makes answer by Guillaume Canet”I am the scriptwriter!

Daniel Auteuil and Dora Tillier in
Daniel Auteuil and Dora Tillier in “The Belle Epoque” (DR)

As with Woody Allen always, the feelings will lead the characters in confusing situations that will eventually clear because it is the proper of a comedy to end well. Nicolas Bedos perfectly masters a dramatic mechanics whose elements are delicate to imbricate, like porcelain. He manages with finesse to lead his viewer to the same doubts and hopes that the client is overwhelmed by his feelings. The good times is a real success. At the exit of the room, many will be quietly wondering: “And me, what would I like to live … or relive?“.

Movie poster
Poster of the movie “The Belle Epoque” (Film “The Belle Epoque”)

Kind : Romantic comedy
Director : Nicolas Bedos
cast : Daniel Auteuil, Dora Tillier, Ardant Fanny, Canet Guillaune, Pierre Arditi, Denis Podalydès
duration : 1h55

Country : France
Exit : November 6th
Distributor : Pathé Distribution

Synopsis : Victor, a disillusioned sexagenarian, sees his life turned upside down the day Anthony, a brilliant entrepreneur, offers him a new kind of attraction: mixing theatrical artifices and historical reconstruction. This company offers its customers to plunge into the time of their choice. Victor then chose to relive the most memorable week of his life: the one where, 40 years earlier, he met the great love …


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