6.5/10
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9 user 15 critic

Life Is a Bed of Roses (1983)

La vie est un roman (original title)
Three intertwined tales. On the eve of the First World War, Count Forbek starts to build a fantastic castle in the Ardennes forest. After the war he uses it to start a utopian society by ... See full summary »

Director:

Alain Resnais

Writer:

Jean Gruault
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3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Vittorio Gassman ... Walter Guarini
Ruggero Raimondi ... Comte Michel Forbek / Count Michel Forbek
Geraldine Chaplin ... Nora Winkle
Fanny Ardant ... Livia Cerasquier
Pierre Arditi ... Robert Dufresne
Sabine Azéma ... Élisabeth Rousseau
Robert Manuel Robert Manuel ... Georges Leroux
Martine Kelly Martine Kelly ... Claudine Obertin
Samson Fainsilber Samson Fainsilber ... Zoltán Forbek
Véronique Silver Véronique Silver ... Nathalie Holberg
André Dussollier ... Raoul Vandamme
Guillaume Boisseau Guillaume Boisseau ... Frédéric
Sabine Thomas Sabine Thomas ... Marie
Bernard-Pierre Donnadieu ... School Teacher
Rodolphe Schacher Rodolphe Schacher ... Pierre
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Storyline

Three intertwined tales. On the eve of the First World War, Count Forbek starts to build a fantastic castle in the Ardennes forest. After the war he uses it to start a utopian society by brainwashing his friends, including his former fiancee, Livia, and her husband. In the present day, the castle is being used as an alternative school and, in the summer holidays, for an educational conference. At the conference, the American Nora Winkle bets Claudine that the ernest public school teacher Elisabeth Rousseau will be enticed into the bed of Robert Dufresne, even though the principal speaker, Walter Guarini, is obviously interested in Elisabeth. Meanwhile, the children staying at the castle over the holidays invent their own medieval tale about freeing prisoners from the dungeons. Written by Will Gilbert

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | Comedy | Musical

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

France

Language:

French

Release Date:

20 April 1983 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

Life Is a Bed of Roses See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Eastmancolor)
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

While old fashioned Kodak film was used for the 1910s scenes and legendary period, modern Fuji film was shot for the 1982 storyline, opposing dreamlike effects of the former to realism of the latter. See more »

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User Reviews

 
Another difficult but worthwhile Resnais film
4 March 2008 | by timmy_501See all my reviews

First off, the commonly accepted translation of the title seems to be bad-It should more properly be called Life is a Fairy Tale. This film explores two main themes. The first theme involves the idea that people never really grow up-they continue to be self centered children with unrealistic views of the world. The other theme is that no individual can be happy unless some other individual is miserable. These themes are explored in typical Resnais fashion-which is to say, in a way that is in turns brilliant and confusing. Naturally, the narrative is not straightforward, rather, it is broken into two main threads and a third crucial but brief one.

The most bizarre (and off putting) thing about this film is the singing-occasionally, a character will suddenly begin singing instead of talking. The other characters tend to respond with normal dialogue as if nothing unusual was going on. This lends a sort of surreal feeling to the already odd mood of the film. According to the special features of the DVD of this, Resnais feels that it is easier to move the story along if his characters sing instead of conversing.

I've only seen this film once, but I feel that I should see it again soon. Resnais films always reward multiple viewings and I doubt this is the exception.


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