The sense of celebration is first and foremost a "Bacri movie" [critique]

The Toledano Nakache throw a great party, but miss their big movie.

Notice to the many fans of Jean-Pierre Bacri : The sense of celebration will be broadcast this Sunday on TF1. Released at the cinema in early 2018, this comedy from the directors ofUntouchables was a little disappointed First, although it is still worth a look. We explain why below.

We know the importance of the titles of the films of the Toledano Nakache duo. This one is one of the best. “The sense of celebration”. A title that slaps like an invitation to party, but which immediately brings up a philosophical question: what is the purpose of this party (in this case a wedding)? We dance, we sing, but why? Commune or flee? Gather or get lost in interchangeable nights? Well, that’s a bit vague, so we can rephrase the problem: what if giving meaning to the party consisted first of all in giving it a clear direction? That’s good, it’s the job of Max, wedding planner for years, that we follow for one night. Unity of time therefore, of place (the village hall) and of action (the preparation and the wedding). We live a few hours of this marriage, but on the side of those who work. Jean-Pierre Bacri plays Max, the wedding planner accompanied by his loud-mouthed assistant (Eye Haïdara), a kindly remained and easily irritable photographer (Jean-Paul Rouve), a nerdy DJ (Extraordinary Lellouche) and a former depressed French teacher turned waiter (Vincent Macaigne). After two socio swerves which slalomed between pure emotion, heavy artillery and burning subjects, the tandem therefore tackles a choral comedy whose cast speaks well of the unifying will. Each actor embodies a register of French comedy and taps into the collective unconscious. The clownish naivety of Alban Ivanof contrasts with the gruff placidity of Lellouche, the popular touch of Rouve collides with the theatrical delusions of Macaigne or the suburban chat of Haïdara. And the family is recomposed before our eyes, constantly bolted by the centrifugal presence of Bacri.

ean-Pierre Bacri had Le Sens de la fête (and repartee)

Untapped potential
Because the film is first of all a “Bacri movie”. Look at the poster: obvious copy of the fabulous poster of The Big Bellezza, Bacri sits enthroned in droopy mode at the heart of a party where everyone is having a blast. Like Paolo Sorrentino’s Jep Gambardella, his snobbish malaise explodes in the face. Close-cropped hair, distanced gaze and intense spleen, it is through him that the two filmmakers will examine the group. Its failures, its troubles, its organization allow the Toledano-Nakache to observe the social, cultural and moral discomfiture of a team and an era. And the films of Sorrentino and the Toledano-Nakache don’t just have one type of hero in common. The sense of celebration also has very big cinema ambitions; it’s streaked with demented visions (the ball!), fed by a Lubitschian sense of rhythm and full of “lunar” staging ideas… It should be supreme, it had to be. But it gets stuck. It gets stuck because some gags don’t work. Highlighted (Ivanof’s clumsy dialogues), even missed (the mother-in-law who “disappears” with Rouve), the jokes are sometimes uninspired (the waiter who is asked to fetch champagne flutes and who returns with instruments). And more damage still, the scenario writers sometimes in a recurring way a reason until exhaustion (the blunders of Rouve or Ivanof). But it gets stuck above all because formal elegance or aesthetic sensuality conceal nothing incandescent. Max is not Jep: The Big Bellezza was an existential trip, the story of a burned-out dandy who watches the world slip away from him; The sense of celebration distills his melancholy by observing a sad guy managing his divorce… Same thing on the social level: Sorrentino described a society which no longer believes in anything, a disappointed and destroyed society, which contemplates its own rottenness without hope of remedy. Toledano-Nakache watch France En Marche and the film ends up looking like a happy ending that no longer has the strength to be ironic. We then realize that the party is less necessary, less crazy. Super well organized, but less burning. It makes a little less sense…

Death of Jean-Pierre Bacri: the moving tribute of Pierre Lescure

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