Thursday, November 26, 2009

Le Huitième Jour (1996)

Le huitième jour (The Eighth Day) is a Belgian 1996 film, it tells the story of a friendship that develops between two men who meet by chance.

The film was written and directed by Jaco Van Dormael. Some scenes in the film appear as dream sequences. The music of Luis Mariano is used in these scenes, with actor Laszlo Harmati playing Luis. (Luis died in 1970.) The original music score is from Pierre Van Dormael, Jaco's brother.

Review by Daniel J. Atil

I just watched the most wonderful movie, and I must tell you about it. It's called THE EIGHTH DAY (Ale Huitieme Jour). It's French with English subtitles. But, don't let that stop you, if you're one of those who dislikes having to read the dialogue. The dialogue is easy to follow, and it's mostly a visual film, and stunning at that. The cinematography is remarkable. But, let me get back to the story, because it's important. There are two men. -- Georges (played superbly by Pascal Duquenne), a man with Down's Syndrome, living in an institution, and missing his mother (she died). He has recurring visions of her, along with visions of his favorite crooner singing his favorite song. He switches gears back and forth from being erratically boisterous and playful at times, to being somber and contemplative at other times. One day, he just walks away from the home, taking along a dog (that may or may not be his pet).

Then, there's Harry (played perfectly by Daniel Auteuil). Harry is a salesman. He's very good at his job, but fails in life. He's recently divorced, and has one last chance to see his children, before his ex-wife denies him the right. But,... One night as he's driving in the rain,... He hits a dog, then meets Georges. He takes Georges (and the dog) to the police station. But, they don't help. Unwittingly, he becomes the guardian of Georges, but in the process of trying to take him home, they become friends. Georges teaches Harry about the simpler pleasures in life. And, Harry helps Georges find a home. (His mother is dead, his sister doesn't want him.) Well... I could go on and on, but I don't want to give away the whole story. This is not just another buddy-buddy story, or another road-trip movie. It's more than that. It's about friendship, family, love, life, everything. It's sad. It's funny. It's heart-warming. It's everything that life is.

"The fifth day, He made the grass.
When you cut it, it cries."

I laughed and cried, sometimes at the same time. It's a truly wonderful movie. Too bad I can only rate it five stars, it deserves ten. END LocalWords: Huitieme Jour.

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