Clara knows how to make her children miserable when she scolds them at the beginning for being just number 2: "If you are not the best, it's because you haven't worked hard enough. You are the best!!". This same sort of pedagogy runs through the film, a saga of the search for prestige of an already wealthy and powerful Jewish family, and how they encounter anti Semitic basically all through French society, purportedly "free and equal for everybody".
Their quest for success is almost moving because it's so material and gripping to status symbols. Not always succeeding, it nevertheless gives rather a sour image of them all. Feelings like love and heroism are absent, all that matters it: "What's in it for me?" mentality. Besides, the "shortcuts" both the dead father and sons try against the competence, like hitting them in the face in public, are not only violent, intolerant, and not legal. They are also unreal: it's unlikely that they can also be the only ones hitting. In short, infantile and taking us, the spectators, as particularly silly.
I'm afraid the subject deserved better treatment.
PS: Beautiful Deborah Grall has a tiny role as "Pauline", the unobservable secretary.
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