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Life Is a Bed of Roses (1983)
"La vie est un roman" (original title)

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Ratings: 6.7/10 from 542 users  
Reviews: 9 user | 10 critic

Three intertwined tales. On the eve of the First World War, Count Forbek starts to build a fantastic castle in the Ardennes forest. After the war he uses it to start a utopian society by ... See full summary »



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Title: Life Is a Bed of Roses (1983)

Life Is a Bed of Roses (1983) on IMDb 6.7/10

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Robert Dufresne
Élisabeth Rousseau
Robert Manuel ...
Georges Leroux
Martine Kelly ...
Claudine Obertin
Samson Fainsilber ...
Zoltán Forbek
Véronique Silver ...
Nathalie Holberg
Raoul Vandamme
Guillaume Boisseau ...
Sabine Thomas ...
Bernard-Pierre Donnadieu ...
School Teacher
Rodolphe Schacher ...


Three intertwined tales. On the eve of the First World War, Count Forbek starts to build a fantastic castle in the Ardennes forest. After the war he uses it to start a utopian society by brainwashing his friends, including his former fiancee, Livia, and her husband. In the present day, the castle is being used as an alternative school and, in the summer holidays, for an educational conference. At the conference, the American Nora Winkle bets Claudine that the ernest public school teacher Elisabeth Rousseau will be enticed into the bed of Robert Dufresne, even though the principal speaker, Walter Guarini, is obviously interested in Elisabeth. Meanwhile, the children staying at the castle over the holidays invent their own medieval tale about freeing prisoners from the dungeons. Written by Will Gilbert

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

education | eccentric | drugs | dream


Drama | Comedy | Musical


PG | See all certifications »




Release Date:

20 April 1983 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Life Is a Bed of Roses  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Sound Mix:


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Did You Know?


While old fashioned Kodak film was used for the 1910s scenes and legendary period, modern Fuji film was shot for the 1982 storyline, opposing dreamlike effects of the former to realism of the latter. See more »

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User Reviews

Another difficult but worthwhile Resnais film
4 March 2008 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

First off, the commonly accepted translation of the title seems to be bad-It should more properly be called Life is a Fairy Tale. This film explores two main themes. The first theme involves the idea that people never really grow up-they continue to be self centered children with unrealistic views of the world. The other theme is that no individual can be happy unless some other individual is miserable. These themes are explored in typical Resnais fashion-which is to say, in a way that is in turns brilliant and confusing. Naturally, the narrative is not straightforward, rather, it is broken into two main threads and a third crucial but brief one.

The most bizarre (and off putting) thing about this film is the singing-occasionally, a character will suddenly begin singing instead of talking. The other characters tend to respond with normal dialogue as if nothing unusual was going on. This lends a sort of surreal feeling to the already odd mood of the film. According to the special features of the DVD of this, Resnais feels that it is easier to move the story along if his characters sing instead of conversing.

I've only seen this film once, but I feel that I should see it again soon. Resnais films always reward multiple viewings and I doubt this is the exception.

8 of 13 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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