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Empty Days (1999)
"Rien à faire" (original title)

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Ratings: 6.7/10 from 279 users  
Reviews: 6 user | 9 critic

An executive and a dowdy working-class woman, both unemployed, married and parents meet at a supermarket. They become friends but find it hard to accept that they may be in love with each other.


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Patrick Dell'Isola ...
Florence Thomassin ...
Kelly Hornoy ...
Marion des Fachelles ...
Jérémy Bourgois ...
Chloé Mons ...
Alexandre Carrière ...
Farida Rahouadj ...
Marie, the neighbour
Josette Hemsen ...
Philippe Peltier ...
Frédérique Hazard ...
Jo Hochain ...
Sarah Hamoud ...
Colleague in canteen


An executive and a dowdy working-class woman, both unemployed, married and parents meet at a supermarket. They become friends but find it hard to accept that they may be in love with each other.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | Romance


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Release Date:

1 December 1999 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Empty Days  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


La Vie Sur Mars
Written by Gérard Pitiot
Performed by Gérard Pitiot
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User Reviews

Sad but true, this is everyday life turned chaotic.
23 March 2003 | by (Oslo, Norway) – See all my reviews

The French, realistically-shot 1999 film "Rien à Faire" was broadcast on Norwegian television some weeks ago, and being a huge fan of French cinema I watched the film starring Valeria Bruni Tedeschi and Patrick Dell' Isola. The leads performed very well, especially Tedeschi as the subdued, insecure Marie-Do. In fact, the film ultimately comes down to the acting, because director Vernoux to some degree fails to keep up interest throughout the (appr.) ninety minutes.

As a study of distinction in French society, though, this film has some relevance to the sociology of Pierre Bourdieu. In the beginning of the film, Marie-Do and her family's tastes in food and wine are compared with those of Pierre (Dell' Isola), as the two meet randomly in a Supermarket. Pierre is the middle-class handsome man who meet a working-class woman without confidence. After a while, though, we learn that Marie-Do and Pierre share a common fate: They are both unemployed. They start hanging out during their empty days (a good English title!), and the viewers just wonder when the anticipated affair will set off. Although they are very different, they find things to talk about and develop a good friendship, before they begin having sex and it all falls apart. Marie is given much attention by Pierre, and as her husband is more concerned with union work and "the revolution" than with even seeing her for who she is, it it not so strange that she wants to have an affair. She is sadly ignored in her family life, and the affair only supplies her with more sympathy. For Pierre, though, the sympathy decreases as we learn he has been married before, and was unfaithful with his previous wife as well.

This is the type of film that cannot end well for both, and that is great, because it would never have worked out in real life, either. So I do not find the depressing theme disturbing, in fact it is the best part of the film, along with the acting. But it is at times unfocused and I feel it also is at times a bit misanthropic. But that might be my viewpoint, and not others'.

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