A Difficult Year

  • France Une année difficile
Trailer 1


When Albert and Bruno, both compulsive spenders and in debt up to their necks, turn to community workers to get a grip on their lives, they run into a group of young green activists. Lured by the free beer and crisps rather than by the ideals of these eco-activists, Albert and Bruno find themselves joining the movement without much conviction. (MFFK Febiofest)


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English Toledano and Nakache are experienced hitmakers, so they know how to shoot a film with ease, how to help themselves with music and how to get actors to turn in performances that are easy to consume. Despite that, their new film comes across as dramaturgically clumsy, as it has problems with the characters’ basic motivations and the logic of their actions. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that the film is a satire about the confusing present and its climatic and social anxieties. Unfortunately, however, it isn’t entirely clear where and at whom A Difficult Year is aimed. It’s a sort of standard comedy-sedative. Problems are used as backdrops and humour as an opportunity to avoid thinking about serious issues. Furthermore, that humour is largely superficial, completely lacking the polished, relaxed and apt humanism of The Specials and The Intouchables. Compared to those two films, A Difficult Year seems perfectly detached from reality. This is (being fully aware of the stereotypical nature of the statement) a lazy piece of work by French guys in their fifties who don’t want to think too much about what they are actually making. So they build a sort of safe space full of clichés and situations that don’t make sense in the end and lead only to a bland, midcult climax. The hypocrisy of consumerism is dumbly and arrogantly parodied by a work that is itself a perfect product of consumerism. And round and round we go. ()

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