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I'm Going Home (2001)

Je rentre à la maison (original title)
Not Rated | | Comedy, Drama | 12 September 2001 (France)
The comfortable daily routines of aging Parisian actor Gilbert Valence, 76, are suddenly shaken when he learns that his wife, daughter, and son-in-law have been killed in a car crash. ... See full summary »


Manoel de Oliveira


Manoel de Oliveira (scenario and dialogue), Eugène Ionesco (play) | 3 more credits »

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Michel Piccoli ... Gilbert Valence
Catherine Deneuve ... Marguerite
John Malkovich ... John Crawford, Film Director
Antoine Chappey Antoine Chappey ... George
Leonor Baldaque Leonor Baldaque ... Sylvia
Leonor Silveira Leonor Silveira ... Marie
Ricardo Trêpa ... Guard
Jean-Michel Arnold Jean-Michel Arnold ... Doctor
Adrien de Van Adrien de Van ... Ferdinand
Sylvie Testud ... Ariel
Isabel Ruth Isabel Ruth ... Milkmaid
Andrew Wale Andrew Wale ... Stephen
Robert Dauney Robert Dauney ... Haines
Jean Koeltgen Jean Koeltgen ... Serge
Mauricette Gourdon Mauricette Gourdon ... Guilhermine, the Housekeeper


The comfortable daily routines of aging Parisian actor Gilbert Valence, 76, are suddenly shaken when he learns that his wife, daughter, and son-in-law have been killed in a car crash. Having to take care of his now-orphaned grandson, he struggles to go on with his lifelong acting career like he's used to. But the roles he is offered -- a flashy TV show and a hectic last-minute replacement in an English-language film of Joyce's Ulysses -- finally convince him that it's time to retire. Written by Markku Kuoppamäki

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Comedy | Drama


Not Rated | See all certifications »



France | Portugal


French | English

Release Date:

12 September 2001 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

I'm Going Home See more »


Box Office


FRF 18,000,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Chosen by "Les Cahiers du cinéma" (France) as one of the 10 best pictures of 2001 (#05) See more »


Referenced in Faust. Der Tragödie erster Teil (2009) See more »


Valse opus 69, No 1 en La bémol Majeur (L'adieu)
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User Reviews

I'M GOING HOME (Manoel De Oliveira, 2001) ***
20 November 2008 | by Bunuel1976See all my reviews

This is another low-key yet compelling latter-day offering from the indefatigable Portuguese film-maker; given that it deals with a famous but ageing actor (Michel Piccoli once again) who decides to give up his boots, it was probably meant as such by Oliveira himself – though he's still going strong seven years later, having not only made some half-a-dozen other films in the interim but, at nearly 100, has two more productions already lined up for 2009!

The plot starts off with Piccoli and his theater troupe (including a nice cameo by Catherine Deneuve) performing a Eugene Ionesco play about a mad king (with Piccoli being very funny at playing a doddering and dreamy fool), while later on they also put on Shakespeare's "The Tempest". Soon after the initial performance, however, Piccoli learns that his wife, daughter and son-in-law have all been killed in a traffic accident; this is a wonderfully directed sequence as the people who have come to inform Piccoli of the tragic events are forced to wait for the play to finish before intervening and, consequently, are seen pacing nervously backstage as the actors' voices boom in the distance spouting droll lines concerning the impending death of Piccoli's own character. As a result of the accident, the elderly actor is left with a young grandson solely in his care; though the two can't afford to spend a lot of time together – due to the nature of Piccoli's work and the boy's own schooling – they display genuine affection for each other.

The repetition of certain scenes – Piccoli watching the child leaving for school or going to a café (this, then, becomes a nice running gag involving another habitual client who likes to sit at the very same table as the protagonist) – may be a nod to Luis Bunuel's THE EXTERMINATING ANGEL (1962), meant as a reflection on the way one's life tends to become a series of routine chores. Having mentioned the Spanish surrealist master, as in Oliveira's later direct homage to him – BELLE TOUJOURS (2006), which I've just watched – the film has several bits showing Piccoli just walking around town; these don't merely serve to give us scenic views of the city, but also to crystallize Piccoli's bemused character: however, we're not spared the ugliness either, illustrated by the incident where one night he's held-up by a junkie and deprived of his beloved newly-purchased yellow shoes (which, in the preceding sequence, ostensibly depicting a conversation between Piccoli and his over-eager agent, had themselves amusingly been the 'protagonists')!

The second half of the picture involves the flow of TV and movie work which Piccoli's agent tries to set up for him: they immediately clash over an action-packed TV series (where the actor's asked to play a dupe for a much younger woman!), but does accept the proposal of a renowned American film director (John Malkovich, another past alumnus of Oliveria's) to take a small role in a new rendition of James Joyce's "Ulysses" – for the record, I own Joseph Strick's 1967 film adaptation myself but have yet to check it out. Still, their collaboration (Malkovich had initially felt privileged in obtaining the services of such a distinguished actor) isn't a felicitous one: Piccoli has difficulty in both remembering and fluently delivering the heavy-going English prose, while Malkovich proves an exacting director – insisting on a rigorous fidelity to Joyce's text. Tired of the whole set-up, Piccoli quits with the soft-spoken yet unequivocal interjection of "Je rentre a' la maison" (I'm going home), and staggers out onto the streets of Paris still 'in character' and period costume (baffling passers-by and the patrons at a pub no end); when Piccoli arrives at the house, he even ignores the grandson's presence in the yard and goes straight up to his room. Had this been Oliveira's last film, it would have been a wonderful tribute to the actor's profession and an insightful reflection on old age and approaching death but, as I said before, the ceaseless Portuguese director still had (indeed has) other aces up his sleeve…

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