Eddy (Benoît Poelvoorde) was just released from prison and is now staying with his best friend Osman (Roschdy Zem) and Osman’s daughter Samira (Séli Gmach). It’s not easy for Eddy to find his footing. Osman is dead-set on staying on the straight and narrow, despite big financial worries: his wife (Nadine Labaki) is ill and the hospital bills are mounting up. And then Charlie Chaplin dies and is buried not far from them. As Eddy watches the international grief, he has an idea: what if they were to hold Chaplin’s body for ransom?
La rançon de la gloire has all the makings of a dark little comedy with its unbelievable story that is actually based on true events, but unfortunately it falls almost completely flat.
Paul Dédalus (Mathieu Almaric) has been living as a diplomat in Tajikistan for a while but now it’s time for him to return to France. His return to France makes him relive some of his most important memories: his difficult childhood with his mentally ill mother (Cécile Garcia-Fogel), a school trip to the USSR when he was a teenager (Quentin Dolmaire) where he engaged in a bit of smuggling, but most imporantly his relationship with Esther (Lou Roy-Lecollinet) whom he falls in love with in his late teens. Their relationship is tempestuous and often destructive, despite their love for each other.
Going into the film, I didn’t know that it was actually kind of the background story, but also continuation of the story Desplechin told in a film 20 years ago (Comment je me suis disputé…); a film I haven’t seen. This fact may explain the weird structure of My Golden Days but regardless, the disjointed nature of the three memories and the unsatisfying way the framing device is left didn’t work any better for me.
Augustine (Soko) is a maid in the late 19th century in Paris. When she suffers from a kind of epileptic episode one night, she heads to the hospital and is promptly kept there and diagnosed with hysteria. When Dr. Jean-Martin Charcot (Vincent Lindon) becomes aware of her case, he sees an opportunity to prove the effectiveness of his hysteria-treatment through hypnosis and so secure financial backing for his research.
Augustine was a really excellent movie, with a fantastic cast and an interesting story critically told. Plus, it looked really good. Definitely one of the highlights of the Viennale for me.