The First Day of the Rest of Your Life (15)

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The Independent Culture

Remi Bézançon's intimate drama examines the fractures and foibles of an ordinary bourgeois French family over the last 12 years of the 20th century.

The three Duval siblings each go their own way, eldest boy Albert (Pio Marmai) seeking independence from the parental nest, middle child Raphael (Marc-Andre Grondin) a stay-at-home wannabe rocker, and daughter Fleur (Deborah Francois) a spitfire with a nose for trouble. Yet the kids tend to be annoying. The real centre of the picture are the parents – Jacques Gamblin as a dutiful, hard-working cabbie who's been under his own father's thumb, and Zabou Brietman as his loyal and lovely wife, keeping the family going as she tries to suppress her fear of growing old. Bézançon handles the passage of time and the shifts of perspective quite adroitly, and creates a real sense of the characters as a family unit. His use of music is also inspired – Blossom Dearie singing "I Walk a Little Faster" deserves an extra star.