Vincent is about to become a father. At a meeting with childhood friends he announces the name for his future son. The scandalous name ignites a discussion which surfaces unpleasant matters from the past of the group.
Alexandre de La Patellière,
In Paris, Ella, a.k.a. Hell, is a promiscuous and reckless teenager with absent upper class parents that does not study or work and spends her time going to night-clubs, using cocaine and ... See full summary »
Lucien Paumelle has been a human rights activist for decades and his relatives are not astonished when he announces that he is determined to help illegal immigrants by giving them shelter ... See full summary »
Anne Le Ny
Bahia Benmahmoud, a free-spirited young woman, has a particular way of seeing political engagement, as she doesn't hesitate to sleep with those who don't agree with her to convert them to her cause - which is a lot of people, as all right-leaning people are concerned. Generally, it works pretty well. Until the day she meets Arthur Martin, a discreet forty-something who doesn't like taking risks. She imagines that with a name like that, he's got to be slightly fascist. But names are deceitful and appearances deceiving... Written by
Imagine your second name is Leclerc, which is also that of a famous hypermarket chain. Now imagine you have a friend who writes scripts whose first name is Baya, only 26 other people in France have in common with you. Nobody would spare you the question, «Leclerc, ... like the hypermarket?» while your friend couldn't escape «Baya, where does it originate from? Brazil?» whereas her roots are North African. Why not take these two peculiarities as a starting point for a romantic comedy that would deal with questions that matter to you: emigration, identity, the duty to remember, family secrets, taboos, politics?
Michel Leclerc thus becomes Arthur Martin, an Avian Flu expert, whose name immediately calls to mind a well known French cooker brand. And Baya will be Bahia Benmahmoud, an extrovert girl who makes a point of sleeping with as many right-wingers as possible to win them over to the leftist cause. And on they are for a very original, very deep film which, by trying to unite two such dissimilar people, successfully spans the history of France, from the 1930's until today . And a very funny one too (the two most irrepressible scenes being the catastrophic dinner with the in-laws and the crazy cameo of former Prime Minister Lionel Jospin). The direction is particularly inspired, creative and unconventional (the characters who address the camera, Jacques Boudet playing a student and a young soldier whereas he is in his seventies because Arthur can't imagine him young, Arthur's dialog with his dead grandparents). «Le nom des gens» has less to do with a standard French comedy than with such brilliant oddities as «Toto le Héros», «Crazy» or «Le premier jour du reste de ma vie», also with Jacques Gamblin, who is perfect here as the dull biologist slowly opening himself to real life. In the role of his wild, passionate but insecure guide on his way to love and life, Sara Forestier gives her best performance since «L'Esquive». Also to be noted are Zinedine Soualem as Bahia's sweet Algerian- born father, Carole Franck as his energetic militant wife, Jacques Boudet and Michèle Moretti as Arthur's parents. And of course Lionel Jospin, who displays a great sense of humor in his only scene. If you like inventive movies that make you both smile and think over, this one is for you.
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