Based on Jack-Alain Léger's novel, this drama focuses on Paul and Daniel, two different brothers of North African origin, and their efforts to succeed in life. Paul has an university degree... See full summary »
Based on Jack-Alain Léger's novel, this drama focuses on Paul and Daniel, two different brothers of North African origin, and their efforts to succeed in life. Paul has an university degree, but doesn't find a job worthy its name. While he is madly in love with Myriam, his beloved brother Daniel struggles with his identity as a, secretly gay, Muslim born in France and wants to be a famous bodybuilder, but finally becomes the "star" of a Hamburg sex club. When Daniel falls critically ill, Paul realizes what he is waiting for in life... Written by
Paul (Sami Bouajila) and Daniel Smaïl (Jalil Lespert) are two close-knit brothers who have trouble to do their own walks of life. In spite of his literature PhD on Moby Dick, Paul can't find a highly qualified work and has to rely on lowly jobs such as a pizza delivery man and a night watchman. He makes the acquaintance of a young woman who is unsure of herself, Myriam (Sylvie Testud) who has exams to be a university professor. As for his brother Daniel, he embarks on an intensive training based on body building and appears in peep-shows. Both of them struggle hard to get by.
After his father's death, one of Paul's friends (the black taxi driver) says to him about his life: "you should pen a novel about it. It would sell well". "Vivre me Tue" is derived from an autobiographical book and some of the first lines are recited by Paul at the tail end of the film. The director Jean-Pierre Sinapi kept the essential unifying thread of this vibrating novel and removed some episodes linked to Paul's troubled childhood and adolescence. In his previous movie, "Nationale 7" (2000), the director had lingered on a community of disabled people and had erased everything likely to make them "different" to other human beings. Here, he lays the focus on a trio of young people who seem different to the world that surrounds them. About Myriam, one of her friends says to Paul that when she was young, she felt isolated and used to cry often. Maybe, she felt herself inferior to the others and led her to rejection which may explain her lack of trust in herself. For Paul and Daniel, difference comes from their origins and their patronymics. However, both have their own talents to show and mature. But for Paul, the features aforementioned above stop him from integrating himself in society. Anyway, does he sincerely wish to have a more than proper job and so to follow the herd in society? Shouldn't he follow his writing dreams through as Myriam advises him? As for Daniel, his perilous body building training might take a dangerous direction.
Jean-Pierre Sinapi keeps a strong proximity with his trio of actors. He almost makes himself their accomplice and his film hasn't really the look of a despondent one. It's more a bracing, feel good vibe that he manages to create. Fondness and humor haven't been forgotten like the moment when Myriam reveals to Paul that she's brilliant at a written test but feels puzzled at an oral test. Another funny moment is Paul's persuasive efforts to pronounce his name like "smile" at job interviews.
Needless to add that the film is also buoyed with stamina by the threesome of actors. Jalil Lespert's physical transformation is breathtaking. As for Sylvie Testud, once again, she gives the impression that she "lives" more than she acts her role which constitutes a strong asset. Sami Bouajila matches her with easiness. Thanks to them, it's a movie I would want to watch again and again.
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