(AFP) – The vibrant portrait of a father, André Dussollier, who asks his daughter, Sophie Marceau, to help him die: François Ozon delivers in “Everything went well” a bittersweet drama on a universal and still taboo subject, the end of life.
Nine years after the Palme d’Or awarded to Michael Haneke for “Amour”, François Ozon delivers, on similar questions, a drama in a completely different register, deep but sometimes funny, at the frantic pace.
Unrecognizable at the beginning of the film, With his deformed face (two hours of make-up each morning), his silvery hair closely shaved, André Dussollier blends in with the features of André Bernheim, an octogenarian, wealthy art collector, victim of a stroke.
Nailed in a hospital bed, but with all his head, this stubborn, selfish even cruel father, but that the actor of 75 years makes it terribly endearing, will ask one of his daughters, Emmanuèle, played by Soph ie Marceau, to help him commit suicide. “Asking her daughter to help her die, is that love or perversity?”, Her husband will ask Emmanuèle Bernheim, while her father’s request traces back years of traumatic relationship.
Because throughout his life, André Bernheim, a multifaceted character, has never spared his relatives, explaining to his daughters how he finds them “naughty”, abandoning his wife with Parkinson’s (Charlotte Rampling in the film) … “He’s a bad father, but I love him a lot, I would have liked to have him as a friend,” says his daughter.
– “On the side of life” –
“This father character is both unbearable and very endearing, he has incredible strength of character and the love his daughters have for him (…) He loves life so much that he wants to die rather than to be lessened “, François Ozon summed up to AFP in Cannes, where the film was in competition.
Finally, Emmanuèle Bernheim and her sister (in fleshed out by Geraldine Pailhas) will agree to organize the assisted suicide of the father, by contacting a Swiss association, where this process is legal.
Very eclectic filmmaker, Ozon oscillates between registers , from a hospital scene where the father has to accept that they wash him, to another, bordering on burlesque, where the wheelchair refuses to enter the elevator, or even grazes with the thriller, when it is necessary hide from the French police, who could derail the last trip to the shores of Lake Geneva …
“We had to make the film from the side of life, we had to a rhythm, highlighting the comic of situations. I did not want to be weighed down by the subject “, explains the director.” We are not in the pathos, it must be the color of François Ozon who does not want to cry cheaply. This mix between the drama they are going through and the comic, that’s life “, continues André Dussollier.
For Ozon, this project has a character particular: Emmanuèle Bernheim is a real character, a relative, novelist and screenwriter, who has collaborated with him on several of his films, including “Swimming Pool” and “Sous le Sable.” She told this story in a book, but is died of cancer before being able to see the adapted project on the big screen.
It was only after his death that François Ozon overcame the “fear” that inspired him the subject.
This feature film by one of the most prolific French filmmakers – around twenty films in as many years – is also the occasion for the author of “8 Women” (with Catherine Deneuve, Isabelle Huppert, Emmanuelle Béart …), to finally shoot with Sophie Marceau, which he had been aiming to do “for a long time”, he says: “Sophie is a beautiful girl, radiant, loved by the public, we al milk follow her and be with her “.