Claude Sautet shot Vincent, François, Paul and the others in 1974.
Portrait of a film: professional bankruptcy, marital break-up, betrayal of youth ideals, writer’s block: each in their own way, three inseparable fifty somethings (a small company owner, a doctor and a writer) grapple with the difficulty of being fifty. A small world of women, children and friends of very different ages and social backgrounds gravitates around them. Whilst it showed the men’s turmoil and the women’s emancipation, this “choir-like” film was to be the biggest public success of Claude Sautet’s career.
Portrait of an era: the film was shot during the 1974 Presidential campaign that led to the election of Valérie Giscard d’Estaing. Every political, social and economical fracture features in the film like the path of an underground river: from the end of an uninterrupted 30 years-expansion period, through the beginning of industrial reorganisations and the oil chock to the appearance of feminists demands, divorce through mutual and the right to abortion.
Portrait of a film director: Claude Sautet was for a long time one of the most famous script “doctors” of the profession before starting to make film noirs, he cast in his films an observing, lucid yet disillusioned look on the world he was from: small businesses, suburbia, cafés, and weekends away in the countryside. Claude Sautet had a passion for social relationships and here he portrays tenderly this middle-class society as if it was behind the glass of an aquarium.