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Long Live Us!

Produced by Paulo Branco.

Produced by Paulo Branco.

Directed, written by Camille de Casabianca. Camera (color), Renato Berta; editor, Morgane Spacagna; music, Alexandre Desplat; art director, Olivier Paultre; costume designer, Marie-Jose Escolar. Reviewed at Le Republique, Paris, Feb. 18, 2000. Original title: Vive nous! (Also in Avignon–New York Film Festival — competing.) Running time: 93 MIN.

With: Dieudonne, Camille de Casabianca, Michele Bernier, Daniel Prevost, Emmanuelle Devos, Thibault de Montalembert, Pascal Elbe, Shozo Awazu, Corinne Vauville.

A modest and chatty contempo comedy of understated cross-purposes, “Long Live Us!” uses judo as a mirror of intellectual and emotional maneuverability. Scripter, helmer and co-star Camille de Casabianca, whose previous pic (“The Adventures of Mme. Petlet”) was optioned for a remake by Disney, deploys gentle humor, unpretentious perfs and a few playfully cinematic touches for a watchable , if mostly unremarkable, result.

When her husband initiates a split, Valerie (de Casabianca) finds serenity in judo classes taught by Bruno (mono-monikered Dieudonne, the proctologist in “Le derriere”). She’s a well-off architect and he’s from the working-class suburbs, which makes for multiple misunderstandings. With varying success, pic also nurtures subplots about two of Valerie’s girlfriends and their approaches to snaring men. Insights into how gigolos meet customers and an elderly judo master whose portrait on the wall offers three-dimensional guidance throw off warm narrative sparks. Unassuming package has a workaday look and jaunty score.

Long Live Us!

(FRANCE)

Production: A Gemini Films release of a Gemini Films/Felix Films/France 2 Cinema production, with participation of Canal Plus and CNC. (International sales: Gemini, Paris.)

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