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Sebastien, a small French boy, is filling a form in his school. In the line where the father's name is asked, he writes "dead". His mother Marie, who is a teacher at the same school, is approached by the boy's teacher who tells her she is sorry about the loss of her husband, something that perplexes Sebastien's mother. The boy is always daydreaming about his idol, Queen Elizabeth of England, imagining his own mother Marie as the Queen, herself.
We soon find out about why Sebastian feels the way he does. His father, a man that is always working in his backyard office on inventions that do not make it big. The other members of the family include an older, much grounded brother and a grandfather that is showing signs of dementia. This is basically a dysfunctional family, if ever there was one. Marie, an earthy woman is ripe for being picked from her dreary existence because there is no sex life between her and her husband.
When Philippe and Michele Martin move next door, things begin to change. The Martins are more sophisticated and outgoing. Philippe, a railway motorman, is charmed by what Marie has to offer. They begin a secret love affair in which Sebastien is dragged as an excuse and is in the middle of the two lovers. Michele finally gets a wind of what is really going on and decides to put an end to the affair by moving away, something that will have tragic consequences for Sebastien.
Renaud Bertrand directed this film shown recently on a French cable channel. It is a bit far fetched to think that what was obviously going on between Marie and Philippe could not be detected by either one of the cuckolded spouses. The mere idea to bring Sebastien in between what the two lovers were experiencing must have scarred any boy for life. He was completely aware what was really going on since the start.
Emmanuel Beart plays Marie with her usual ease. Stefano Acorsi, an Italian actor working a lot in the French cinema, is seen as Philippe. The wonderful Jacques Gamblin has the thankless job of portraying the deceived husband. Nathan Georgelin makes an impression as Sebastien. The camera work of Yves Cape enhances the muted look of the film, taking us back to the past.
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