Eight years after The load-bearing Walls, Cyril Gelblat (our interview with the producer HERE) returns with a second feature film entitled EVERYTHING TO BE HAPPY, an adaptation of the novel A shot to take the journalist Xavier de Moulins. The director discusses again the theme of parentage that seems to be expensive, but is also an issue not addressed : the difficulty, often the men of today to find their place among independent women of our generation. While that is largely inspired by the roman original, Cyril Gelblat however, seems to have pushed well beyond his reflection to offer us a vision of male, less manichean, and particularly poignant to the situation.

EVERYTHING TO BE HAPPY tells the story of Antoine (Manu Payet), almost quarantenaire, who separates from his wife Alice (Audrey Lamy). Everything is not very clear but we understand immediately that this couple suffers from a lack of communication that dates back to a long time and they are more fulfilled together : Alice, a strong woman, and brave, and is tired of managing the household and her daughters all alone in the face of a man, it seems very selfish, to which it is addressed as a third dependent child. For his part, Antoine is constantly running away from this boring family life, which he feels excluded, and regrets that his wife no longer has the time to be also a loving wife. He finds himself suddenly confronted with a reality totally unknown made of professional responsibilities, material and paternal hitherto completely ignored. How will he get out of it, he who is never able to lead a project professional ? He who has never lifted the night to take care of his daughters ? What will he learn from this experience ? The entourage of Antoine, his sister (Aure Atika), his daughters (Jaia Caltagirone and Rafaèle Gelblat, simply bluffantes), his friends, but also the viewer, will they be able to overcome the received ideas in order to experience empathy towards her ? Will they be able to perceive that in a couple becomes a family, the responsibility of failure is not always attributable to the one that looks condemned ?

It is this that is treated with delicacy, humour and sensitivity by Cyril Gelblat and that makes this comedy a film much deeper than it seems.

Where the film is particularly interesting is that in the course of the questioning intimate of Antony, it is understood why and how he got there. We finally get to say that, even if it is not satisfied, this separation is the best thing that could happen to him. We realize, without, however, excuse his pranks, he had been left no room to flourish in any area. This place, he will find that through the break (and like so many men today, through the involvement and pleasure from the paternity). Subtly, through the portraits of women presented in the film, Cyril Gelblat highlights the idea that this generation has a tendency feminist expresses such a need for affirmation individual (not always conscious) that it becomes paradoxical within the couple. These women want to live with a man while showing that they don’t need him and can just take only. They are often, in spite of themselves, in total control, leaving their spouse that they no longer have the time to accomplish. This behavior causes the effect of castration because the man was struggling to find her place in this new balance. It returns an image bit value and creates the feeling of a lack of recognition. In addition, the fact of take care of everything in a kind of “mothering” offers men a such comfort at first sight, such ease at the beginning, that they quit, often before they try to take part in the home. In the end, these men often leave in search of a woman sending back a picture of themselves in a brighter…

“The interest of ALL TO BE HAPPY is to truly rebalance the responsibilities for man / woman couples compared to received ideas.”

We see as well that the one who is blamed to have everything to be happy but seemed not to be satisfied with it had, in fact, nothing more : more consideration, more space, more responsibility, more right to speak. As in My King of Maïwenn, EVERYTHING TO BE HAPPY , tells the story of a couple in which one cannot stand the other’s differences while it was for this that they are chosen. The couple gradually lost sight of the reasons of its initial balance. By ease and lack of communication, blame and resentment follow one another to the benevolence, without hope of remission. The interest of the film (particularly compared to the novel) is, therefore, to truly rebalance the responsibilities for man/woman couples in relation to the ideas received. All this through a realization that immerses us in the intimacy of the life of Anthony, with love and humor (in spite of the framing so tight sometimes that they give me dizzy).

EVERYTHING TO BE HAPPY also addresses the rest of the family with realism through a relationship brother/sister, that the mode of life was distant, and which converge over trials, around common values. The opportunity to introduce a character extremely rich, perfectly played by Aure Atika, which is nothing less than a lawyer and independent single who adopted a child from the ivory coast, which it strives to inculcate, among other things, the jewish religion as it had been abandoned.

And then impossible not to mention the soundtrack, just that the cast, and, in particular, the discovery of Joe Bel , whose musical style is decidedly modern. Paradoxically, through the role of a young singer, she interprets the female character is the most classical in its approach to the couple.

Still, however, a few small caveats. The first being that Manu Payet is almost too friendly and endearing, so much so that the evolution of the spectator’s gaze is less important than expected. In fact, the empathy is immediate and it remains difficult to despise, even at the start. Then, the film necessarily contains some ellipses or passages that are too fast (compared to the novel) to grasp truly the reflections which led to the passage of the action of Anthony. This being the case, it seems impossible to develop more in 1h30. We regret also that of the topics as interesting as single parenthood, adoption, the return to religion, and then the desire of a blended family, are very little.

In spite of everything, through the prism of male, JUST TO BE HAPPY shows in a very touching manner the reality of many couples in their thirties (see more), and may facilitate the mutual understanding of some. Over words or situations that everyone has been able to experience or feel as a father, mother, husband or wife, very rightly analysed and depicted, Cyril Gelblat has the talent to move us by its reflection and its sensitivity ! We would like it to build all of this in a possible third feature-length film, or why not a suite.

Stephanie Ayache

The interview with Cyril Gelbat, Manu Payet and Aure Atika, HERE




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