Flying back from Jakarta back to Australia earlier this year, I noticed that The first day of the rest of your life (Le premier jour du reste de ta vie) was one of the movies available for viewing. I didn’t pick it but remembered the title nevertheless.
When I saw it in one of this year’s line-ups for the French Film Festival, I still ummed and erred because I wasn’t that sure whether it would be an interesting viewing. Oh am I so glad I picked it at the end! Combined with Micmacs and You’ll miss me, the three French movies that I have seen are all great viewing.
The first day of the rest of your life is a story of the Duval family: Robert is a taxi-driver, his wife Marie-Jeanne heads back to college and their three children: Albert, Raphaël and Fleur are also eager to live their lives. There are five parts of the movie that form different stages of their lives – it started when the family dog Ulysses had to be put down and Albert moving out of the house. I won’t share what happens at the end because it is such a beautiful, heartwarming, well-written, and well-acted movie. It is touching, it’s funny and it has moments when you definitely can relate to the situations. I know that if you read the synopsis, you probably think that it’s a boring and dull movie – far from it, you will probably laugh so hard when Robert relates a story about his first attempt to send a ‘love letter’ to his childhood sweetheart, and you’ll probably shed a tear or two when you see Marie-Jeanne releasing the air from a blown-up back support cushion. I wish I could write more – but seeing the movie is like spending time with a dear family who tells you their private stories: the challenges and the jokes that you’d rather not share around, if you don’t hear them directly.
As a postscript, I have had Lou Reed’s Perfect Day in my iPhone for a while now – from a CD that I bought many years ago. For some, this track would be one of the classics, for me, it’s well … I thought it was too slow, too mellow, too sombre. The song is also featured in the movie, and after I watched it, I remember the scenes, stop and reminisce. It makes you so thankful of your own family, of your parents and siblings, and spouse … life is a series of memories built with the loved ones.
If this is played in a cinema near you, go and see it – you’ll be charmed by it. If you can get access to the DVD, go and get it as well.