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Same Old Song (1997)

On connaît la chanson (original title)
A musical story about how people find their love on the streets of beautiful Paris.


Alain Resnais
10 wins & 9 nominations. See more awards »




Cast overview, first billed only:
Pierre Arditi ... Claude
Sabine Azéma ... Odile Lalande
Jean-Pierre Bacri ... Nicolas
André Dussollier ... Simon
Agnès Jaoui ... Camille Lalande
Lambert Wilson ... Marc Duveyrier
Jane Birkin ... Jane
Jean-Paul Roussillon ... Father
Nelly Borgeaud ... Doctor #3
Götz Burger ... Von Choltitz
Jean-Pierre Darroussin ... Young Man with Cheque
Charlotte Kady Charlotte Kady ... Restaurant Customer
Jacques Mauclair Jacques Mauclair ... Doctor #1
Pierre Meyrand ... Cafe Owner
Claire Nadeau Claire Nadeau ... Female Guest
Learn more

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Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


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Did You Know?


Referenced in L'atelier d'Alain Resnais (1997) See more »


Le blues du blanc
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User Reviews

The Singing Society: A Horror-Utopia
15 March 2011 | by ilpohirvonenSee all my reviews

Alain Resnais was at the age of 76 when he made his first musical, and to be honest he might just be the last filmmaker I would've guessed to make a musical - even that music has always played a huge part in his films. Alain Resnais was one of the most essential auteurs of the French new wave in early 1960's, during which he got a reputation as an experimental filmmaker by making Hiroshima mon amour (1959) and Last Year at Marienbad (1961) - who would've thought that a man who made these tragic, ambiguous films was going to make a musical? To my mind, through Same Old Song (1997) Resnais achieved the same Hitchcock did; combining experimentalism and populism - the film was drowned by Cesar awards.

In my opinion Same Old Song is the best musical made after the 1960's. Just like western and film-noir so has this genre died. But luckily someone was still able to bring something new to it. Same Old Song is and is not a musical. In the genre wishful thinking, better and dreamed ego, hopes for a better world and existence are combined. From this perspective Same Old Song is a musical but this idyllic joy is destroyed by showing the actual agony and depression that possess the characters. In the film the characters sing in appropriate and inappropriate situations; the music comes from a tape and it doesn't necessarily fit into the mouth of the singer. A young lady can sing throaty and loudly, and a German officer can burst out to a falsetto.

In the beginning there is a Resnaisian leap of time: 50 years, from WWII to the lives of the regardless and ignorant bourgeoisie of today. The reality is very elusive, nothing and no one is what they first seem to be: the inappropriate songs. The characters aren't living in harmony with each other nor with themselves, what the idyllic songs seem to reinforce - it's all a lie, fake, window dressing.

The characters sing classics by Edith Piaf, Serge Gainsbourg and Charles Trenet - same old songs. "No one in our world can sing songs throughly anymore." (Alain Resnais) So all the songs are association; we only here brief fragments from them and this idea works brilliantly. The songs/ideas remain undone and the characters don't empathize. An old Avantgardist goes deeper into the core of art, not by adding but by erasing and simplifying.

Same Old Song could be seen as a parody or a travesty of musicals as the artificial joy wins. But it also has a social dimension; depicting the illusion of bourgeois happiness. The ostensible joy of the same old songs hides the depression, tiredness and panic disorders: "How long does depression last?, - 'Mine has lasted for four years.'" The things of everyday life, falling in love, decent life bury the actual fears of reality. The characters eat a lot and go to cocktail-parties, they don't really know who they are. The postmodern architecture represents the rootlessness of the characters and the vacancy of their lives - Alain Resnais continued from here in his later film Coeurs (2006), which is the best romantic comedy made in decades.

An obscure agony characterizes the city the characters live in. The singing society and artificial happiness are like a horror-utopia - to which not even some of the finest science fictions can't be compared to. Some of the characters realize their agony, share it and move on. But the others continue their artificial idyllic life - singing with no worries.

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Official Sites:

Artistic License Films


France | Switzerland | UK | Italy


German | French

Release Date:

12 November 1997 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

Same Old Song See more »

Filming Locations:

Paris, France


Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$7,157, 17 October 1999

Gross USA:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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