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.
A French public servant from Provence is banished to the far North. Strongly prejudiced against this cold and inhospitable place, he leaves his family behind to relocate temporarily there, with the firm intent to quickly come back.
Holidaymakers arriving in a Club Med camp on the Ivory Coast are determined to forget their everyday problems and emotional disappointments. Games, competitions, outings, bathing and sunburn accompany a continual succession of casual affairs.
A father-to-be and his very pregnant wife are invited for dinner by his sister and his brother-in-law. The setting is an upper-middle-class apartment in Paris. When the expecting parents reveal they intend to name their son "Adolphe", everyone else at the dinner is speechless. The situation eventually gets out of hand, when no one can come to an understanding, and everyone starts unearthing old rivalries and unspoken issues.
The film is adapted from the play written by both directors, created in Paris in 2010 (théâtre Edouard-VII) staged by Bernard Murat, and sharing the exact same cast, except for the character of Claude, who was, on stage, played by Jean-Michel Dupuis. And of course, some minor characters have been added for the film : the two children, the pizza boy, and the hospital crew. Among this hospital crew, the doctor is played by Bernard Murat, who was the stage director of the play. See more »
(at around 40 mins) Claude turns down the volume of the stereo, but he is turning on the wrong wheel - it's not the amplifier but the cassette recorder. See more »
In the opening credits only the first names of the actors, producers, directors... are written. See more »
"Le Prenom" is about a group of five middle-aged friends who are having a Moroccan dinner get-together one night. The hosts are Pierre (a literature professor) and his dutiful wife Elisabeth (nicknamed Babou). Claude is a professional trombonist who was Elisabeth's best friend. Vincent is Elisabeth's joker of a brother, whose wife Anna is pregnant with their first child.
It was the matter of naming Vincent and Anna's unborn baby boy that starts us off in this adventure of bitter wit and sharp barbs all within the confines of Pierre's apartment. From a heated argument about the name Vincent plans to give his son, their conversation devolves into more serious and painful matters about each other's secrets they have been keeping from each other all these thirty odd years they have known each other as close friends.
"Le Prenom," with its confined action and lengthy dialogues, felt like a play. The passionate cast, led by Vincent Bruel and Charles Berling, were also acting like stage actors with their over-the top, exaggerated (therefore not too realistic for film) reactions and exclamations. I found out afterwards that it was adapted by Mathieu Delaporte and Alexandre de la Patelliere, based on their 2011 stage play.
This script of this film is reminiscent of a 2008 French play by Yasmina Reza called "Gods of Carnage", made into a film called "Carnage" by Roman Polanski. That play/film had two middle-aged couple whose arguments begin from a fight between their sons to topics totally different from what they started talking about.
As with other foreign language films, I felt a lot of the humor and wit is lost in translation into the English subtitles. Especially in a very wordy screenplay like this one with practical jokes and secret revelations, so much subtleties in the use of language is expected, and I surely missed. This is already very good as I watching it, but I have a feeling French-speaking people found it even better. I will definitely watch a live English language performance of this play if there was one.
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