Une semaine de vacances

1980 [FRENCH]


IMDb Rating 6.7 10 562

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Uploaded By: FREEMAN


Philippe Noiret as Michel Descombes
Nathalie Baye as Laurence Cuers

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by dbdumonteil 8 / 10

and however I go on

Here's another strong piece of work from a giant in French cinema, Bertrand Tavernier who is always on the alert to pore over various social problems who are still topical many years after the shootings of the films. "Une Semaine De Vacances" deals with education, a domain Tavernier will explore again twenty years later with "Ca Commence Aujourd'Hui" (1999).

The first thing that springs to mind is that by discovering this wondrous movie, one realizes that Tavernier uses education to make the portrait of a French teacher, Laurence acted with sensitivity by Nathalie Baye. The latter, one morning decides not to go to her secondary school after a breakdown. Her doctor (Philippe Léotard) gives her one week's rest during which she will review her career, even her life. As she hangs around with her lover Pierre (Gérard Lanvin), family and friends and makes new acquaintances, numerous questions, doubts and fears haunt her: did she really want to devote her life to teaching? Is she reliable enough to sustain interest amid her students? Should she have children with Pierre? Through her personal quest and a fragmented narration, Tavernier seizes the opportunity to make a mixing of different issues about education both from teachers but also between parents and children (Michel Galabru and his son with whom his relationships are rather blighted and there's a Philippe Noiret cameo whose son is in prison: it's a nod to Tavernier's first film: "l'Horloger De Saint Paul" (1974)). Other points involved are loneliness, old age (Laurence's old female neighbor), doubt (one of Laurence's students doesn't trust in herself while one of her colleagues puts her teaching career to an end because she's fed up with the incessant changing reforms in education) and different steps in the life of a woman: as I previously said, Pierre is craving for children but Laurence is undetermined about this.

So, education isn't only at the core of "une Semaine De Vacances" but one theme among several ones that are explored in the space of one week. There's a lot of food for thought, reflection and at the end of the viewing, one feels much more clever and available to have a look at the world that surrounds us. It's bracing cinema as we would like to watch it more often. God bless Bertrand Tavernier!

Reviewed by Red-125 7 / 10

She answers every question with, "I don't know."

The French film Une semaine de vacances (1980) was shown in the U. S. with the title A Week's Vacation. It was co-written and directed by Bernard Tavernier.

The movie stars Nathalie Baye as Laurence, a high school teacher in Lyon. She's a good teacher, but she isn't happy at school. She's not happy about her boy friend. In fact, she's not happy about much in her life, although people think she should be happy.

My problem with the movie is that it's hard to like the protagonist. People ask her if she's going to keep teaching. People ask her what she would do if she stopped teaching. People ask her if she will marry her boy friend. People ask her if she wants to have children. Her answer to each of these questions is, "I don't know."

Bernard Tavernier was a great director. Nathalie Baye is a great actor. It's no surprise that the direction and acting were fine. However, I didn't appreciate the plot or identify with the protagonist.

Bernard Tavernier died on March 25th, 2021, just a few days before I wrote this review. He directed many great films, which I recommend. However, I consider this one of his lesser films.

I think that this movie is worth watching, but it's not a must-see. It has a weak IMDb rating of 6.7. I agreed, and rated it 7.

Reviewed by jromanbaker 10 / 10

The hardest part is to listen

I have my own take on this masterpiece by the great Bertrand Tavernier and that is to listen; to listen to others and to oneself. Talk to others, but listen to others. Laurence played by Nathalie Baye ( who is one of France's finest actors ) is a schoolteacher and she is having a breakdown. She either has to stay in her profession, stay with her lover who adores her or move on. Is moving on the answer or staying still ? By talking to others she spends her time out from school and tries to make a decision. She listens to the problems of those around her and she is a child again in the classroom of life, and painfully and slowly she learns what a sublime horror it is to be human. This film is a masterpiece because it explores both on a personal level and on a societal level. We all have problems of ageing, loving and eventually dying in a world that seems to make of us just a number. A song of the day, about being just a number plays more than once and Tavernier shows with intelligent persuasion that a pop song and a bad television programme can also help us understand life and to live. There is a wonderful kick at Opera in the film that had me cheering. Most need the smallest and most popular things to survive. That includes dialogue, which the film is full of and through dialogue with others we just may be strong enough to continue, to cohabit with an unjust world and to grow into just being ourselves. The scenario is full of working people, and not the luxury class of those who can afford not to care or who just feed off others without giving. A lot of cinema depicts these people but in this film they are not there. True life is richer than the laziness and opportunism of the rich. I am astonished this film has only 4 reviews. People not wanting to listen perhaps ? Forty years on and in desperate times this film has perhaps greater relevance than in 1980 and a big thank you for Tavernier, Baye and all of the other actors for making this essential film what it is. It maybe ' old ' to some, but looks as fresh to me as its first outing in the cinema.

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