HAPPY BIRTHDAY (FÊTE DE FAMILLE)
North American Premiere | France | 2019 | Comedy, Drama | 101 min | In French with English subtitles
Directed by: Cédric Kahn
Written by: Cédric Kahn, Fanny Burdino, Samuel Doux
Cinematography: Yves Cape
Film Editing: Yann Dedet
Produced by: Sylvie Pialat, Benoît Quainon (Les Films du Worso), Cédric Kahn (Tropdebohneur Productions) Aude Cathelin, France 2 Cinéma
Cast: Catherine Deneuve (Andréa), Emmanuelle Bercot (Claire), Vincent Macaigne (Romain), Cédric Kahn (Vincent), Laetitia Colombani (Marie)
International Sales: Elle Driver
A stand-out ensemble cast, featuring Catherine Deneuve and the film’s director, Cédric Kahn, breathes life into this family portrait of one dysfunctional, somewhat codependent clan. Their leisurely day-in-the-country get-together, celebrating matriarch Deneuve’s 70th birthday, shifts into high-gear when her eldest daughter jubilantly reappears after a 3-year absence. Unfolding over the course of one day, their joyous reunion begins to unravel as family secrets gradually rise to the surface. Actress Emmanuelle Bercot — who snagged the 2015 Best Actress Award at Cannes for her role in Maïwenn’s My King (COLCOA 2016) — gives a particularly striking performance as the volatile prodigal daughter who returns to the fold, pushing everyone’s buttons and revealing the thorny underpinnings to this seemingly perfect family.
Starting out as an assistant editor for directors Maurice Pialat (on Under the Sun of Satan, 1987) and Catherine Breillat (on 36 Fillette, 1988), Cédric Kahn went on to become a screenwriter, cowriting scripts for Laurence Ferreira Barbosa’s Normal People Are Nothing Exceptional and Brigitte Roüan’s Overseas. He wrote and directed his first feature, Bar des Rails, in 1991 and went on to direct ten more, including Trop de bonheur (Prix Jean Vigo, 1994), RobertoSucco (2001), Une vie meilleure (2011), Wild Life (Special Jury Prize, San Sebastian, 2014) and The Prayer (COLCOA 2018). He is also an accomplished actor, appearing in such films as Xavier Beauvois’ N’oublie pas que tu vas mourir (1995), Elie Wajeman’s Aliyah (2012) and Les anarchistes (2015), Laurent Tirard’s Up for Love (2016), Pawel Pawlikowski’s Cold War (2018) and the TV series Call My Agent! (COLCOA 2016 and 2017).
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