In his comedy Un air de famille, Klapisch opens fire on the institution of the family. In the film we become acquainted with what looks at first sight like a fairly normal French family: in the opening shot mother makes it clear to the neighbours with a lot of verbal violence that her favourite son Philippe is on television. In the dilapidated bar ‘Le père tranquille’, that the father has left to the youngest son Henri, the family gathers to celebrate the birthday of Philippe’s slightly moronic wife Yolanda. Daughter Betty is thirty and unmarried, so she’s on the shelf. She has a secret affair with the barkeeper Dennis, the only one to look in the least objectively at family relationships. The subliminal tension is not reduced when Henri’s wife announces that she won’t be coming because she wants to think about their relationship. Klapisch does not hide the fact that he based his film on a stage play: apart from several elucidatory flashbacks, he scarcely leaves the bar. The director uses this single location to stress the claustrophobic aspects of family life. The lightness and liveliness of the script by Bacri and Jaoui, who themselves play the son Henri and daughter Betty, offers the actors plenty of opportunity to shine. Special mentions are due to Claire Maurier (the mother) and Catherine Frot as the crazy Yolanda, in the end the most honest and warmest of the bunch. –IFFR
Cédric Klapisch is one of today’s most popular French Director and his movies have regularly hit the French box office. Born in 1961, he worked on his first short films in the United States from 1983 to 1985. He started out as a DOP to finally become a film director. In 1989, his short film Ce qui me meut wins several prizes, one being the Perspectives of French Cinema Prize at the Cannes International Film Festival. He then directs his first feature in 1992, Little Nothings, which was nominated for the Cesars. His second, Good Old Daze, wins the 1993 Golden FIPA and Grand Prize at the 1994 Chamrousse Humour Film Festival.
In 1996, When the Cat’s Away is released, followed by Family Resemblances, his fourth feature which is awarded numerous prizes including three Cesars and the 1997 Lumière for Best Screenplay and Best Director. Maybe, starring Romain Duris and Jean-Paul Belmondo, is released in French cinemas in 1999. In 2002, Klapisch comes back to social comedy with The Spanish… read more