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Jean Denizot

2013 || France || 93 mins || Color || in French || Feature


The Match Factory


Venice 2013 – Venice Days
Venice 2013 – Winner – Best European Film (Europa Cinema Label)
Venice 2013 – Winner – Feodora Award (Special Mention)


Sylvain and Pierre have been on the run with their father for 10 years because of a custody battle. They have been forced to hide out often in the middle of nowhere and move hastily when the authorities discover their whereabouts. The brothers are now road-weary and eager to enjoy their teenage years. When Sylvain meets Gilda, his first crush, he begins to question his father’s definition of a good life…

A tender first film with stellar performances and and an appreciative eye for nature’s beauty.


Zacharie Chasseriaud (as Sylvain)
Jules Pelissier (as Pierre)


Beautifully lensed picture offers a low-key, present-tense snapshot of this unusual family unit and its gradual dissolution… Lovely isolated moments… (Director Jean) Denizot and co-writer Frederique Moreau haven’t ripped their version of events from the headlines so much as reimagined a few key episodes toward the story’s end, focusing on the younger son’s romantic awakening as the catalyst that brings an untenable living situation to a close… By avoiding explanatory flashbacks or a decade-long timespan, Denizot has given himself the admirable challenge of telling his story entirely through a present-day prism, requiring the viewer to glean past motivations and experiences via telling details… The lush great-outdoors photography by d.p. Elin Kirschfink is gorgeously composed in widescreen. blissful moments, at once innocent and mildly sensual… Fine performances; (Zacharie) Chasseriaud has a nicely watchful gaze…

— Justin Chang, VARIETY


First-time director Jean Denizot delivers a nuanced, emotionally authentic coming of age story in this tale of a pair of brothers who go into hiding with their dad following a custody battle. Mixing some of the child-of-nature adventure spirit of Mark Twain’s literary classic Huckleberry Finn (which is referenced) with the lesson of Noel Baumbach’s semi-autobiographical film The Squid And The Whale – that sons sometimes have to learn to outgrow the emotional immaturity of their fathers – The Good Life (La Belle Vie) is grounded by its sympathy for its young protagonists, and by the incendiary performance of 17 year-old Zacharie Chasseriaud in the main role. The way the film juxtaposes nonchalance and damage, jaunty country and western numbers with darker notes, says something quite profound about an age when despair and elation can switch places in an instant. Well received at its Venice press screening, the film has a certain breezy charm to it, as well as a dramatic bite, that in the hands of the right distributor could perform well on the indie circuit… What could have been a dark and twisted story is managed with a lightness of touch, the thrust of the film’s argument being that kids can turn out okay even in the most unpromising situations. Sylvain’s okayness is sealed by a tender but real-feeling romance he embarks on with Gilda (Solene Rigot), a girl who lives in the village across the water from the Loire river island where he and his dad eventually hole up.