Monday 15 February 2016

The Bélier Family/ La Famille Bélier

I knew as soon as I saw the gushing ads for The Bélier Family before Christmas that I wanted to see it. Rather desperately. Sadly I missed it at Christmas time. Finally I did get to see it last week. France's hit film of 2015, and even the print ads made it look enchanting.

The Bélier Family live on a farm in Normandy. They run dairy cattle and make cheese, selling it at a stall at the local marché. Paula Bélier is 16, and is the only hearing member of her family. Her parents and younger brother are all profoundly deaf. Paula is their voice to the world, running the farm business and being their voice at the markets. Gradually she discovers her own voice and a love of singing. Paula's music teacher is obsessed with the songs of Michel Sardou, a new to me French icon, sadly a little middle of the road for my tastes.

The plot is possibly a little predictable overall, but it's a gentle, sweet feel good film, with plenty of laughs- not always an easy thing for a foreign language film to have humour bridge the language gap. There are some things that happen that are clearly wrong for a 16 year old girl, but that is a minor quibble. The Bélier Family is still is a rather charming French comedy. Louane Emera plays Paula Bélier, Louane was discovered on a series of The Voice in France in 2013, she certainly has a great voice.

The Belier Family has come under fire from the deaf community, about the use of non-deaf actors playing deaf characters (the parents are not deaf, the younger brother is). The signing is bad apparently. I do wonder how different that it is to using non-Australian actors for instance playing an Australian character. In that case the accent is usually so appalling as to be laughable.

The trailer gives too much away IMHO, so beware. But if you've already seen it, it's nice to reminisce.

Or maybe watch it with French subtitles (if you can't read them).

Dreaming of France is a wonderful Monday meme
from Paulita at An Accidental Blog 


Anonymous said...

A delightful film - we saw it on New Year's Eve. A nice way to end the year. I agree, it is predictable. A shame about the non-deaf actors. I heard about this after seeing it. You would think there might have been deaf actors around? But, as you say, this sort of thing - using actors not from the "group" being portrayed - is pretty common. How cranky should we get?

Paulita said...

Louise, I hadn't even heard of this film so I was delighted by the trailer. It looks very touching. In my family, we have a joke that a French comedy means only a few people die. Maybe this one will be different. Thanks for playing along with Dreaming of France.

Tamara said...

I saw this last year at the french film festival and really enjoyed it. Yes its gushy, but its fun, heart warming and french. I loved the country side, her voice, and the quirky family ties. I would recommend it again.

bermudaonion said...

This is totally new to me - I wonder if it's showing here.

Deb Nance at Readerbuzz said...

Thanks for sharing this one. I'm always hoping to see another French film.