Coming soon: Husband turns back time on failed marriage in La Belle Époque

Cinemaphile by Joanne Sargent

Joanne Sargent


If we could turn back time, I suspect we each might have a favourite moment or period we’d like to return to.

In our next movie, La Belle Époque, Victor, whose marriage is on the rocks, chooses to relive the moment, in 1974, when he first met his wife Marianne in a Lyon bar.

At present, Victor and Marianne could not be more different. He is an unemployed cartoonist disenchanted with the modern world and technology. Marianne, a psychotherapist, on the other hand, has completely embraced technology, and flaunts the affair she is having with Victor’s ex-boss. After Marianne throws Victor out, he takes up an offer by Time Travellers, a company that offers clients a virtual trip into the past by way of a totally convincing theatrical experience.

It sounds like a strange concept, but Victor plunges thoroughly into the escapist opportunity, a return to the entirely realistic ’70s French bistro filled with smoke and music. Victor is having such a good time revisiting the world of his youth that he would prefer to stay there, and he becomes more and more obsessed with the young version of his wife. Will the whole exercise re-vitalize Victor’s marriage or will he simply fall in love with Margot, the actress playing Marianne?

Read more: ‘Naughty boy’: Monty Python star Terry Jones dies at 77

Read more: Morning Start: Stephen King wasn’t a fan of Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining

The concept of La Belle Epoch oddly works, and true to French farce traditions, a host of obstacles present themselves and many are laugh-out-loud funny. Cleverly handled with wit and elegance, this original romantic comedy muses on the nature of nostalgia, memory and love.

Subtitled, La Belle Époque shows at 5 p.m. at the Salmar Classic on Saturday, Feb. 1.

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