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Si c'était a Refaire (1976)

Original Title : Si c'était à refaire
Director : Claude Lelouch
Writer : Claude Lelouch
Genre : Drama
Country : France
Language : French
Producer : Claude Lelouch
Music : Francis Lai
Photography : Jacques Lefrançois
IMDB ID : 0075215
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poster for "Si c'était a Refaire" by Claude Lelouch (1976)
Si c'était a Refaire (1976) - Claude Lelouch
 

Starring

Catherine Deneuve Catherine Berger
Anouk Aimée Sarah Gordon
Charles Denner L'avocat
Francis Huster Patrick
Colette Baudot Lucienne Lanot
Jean-Jacques Briot Simon Berger
Jean-Pierre Kalfon Le bijoutier
Valérie Lagrange La fille de Sarah
Georges Staquet L'agent immobilier
Niels Arestrup Henri Lanot
Albina de Boisrouvray Zoé
Bernard-Pierre Donnadieu Claude Blame
Paul Deheuvels Une gardienne de prison
Marie-Pierre de Gérando Le banquier
Michel Ruhl Herself
Elie Chouraqui Le dragueur (uncredited
Betty Mars Herself (uncredited
 

Plot

For assistance to murder Catherine Berger (Catherine Deneuve) is sentenced to 20 years' imprisonment. There she gives birth to a son, Simon (Jean-Jaques Briot). After her release Catherine wants to make up for the lost years and tries to built up a close relationship to her already grown-up son. Despite some tensions when she finds out that Simon has a love affair with her best girl-friend Catherine's efforts work out and in the "happy" end they become a real family when she finds the perfect lover - Simon's teacher.
 

Comments

The best years in life are those that lie ahead. (Contains spoilers) One morning the door of a prison cell is opened and a guard announces to convict number 70/13: You're free. A cab takes Catherine Berger (Catherine Deneuve) to the railroad station from where a train brings her to Aix-En-Provence - for the most important appointment of her life. The taxi-driver eyes her curiously through the rear-view-mirror and a fellow traveler tries to flirt with her. But all she can think of is her son: She is finally going to meet him for the first time since his birth 14 years ago. She remembers the terrible events that cost her 16 years of her life: When she was 19, she worked as a secretary. Her boss offered her a glass of champagne, drugged and violated her. The revenge that Henri, her fiance, planned went terribly wrong. All he wanted was to beat up the rapist - but their efforts to make his accidental death look like a hold-up brought them 20 years in prison. When Henry hangs himself, Catherine realizes that there is only one thing in life that can help her survive the next years: a child. Someone who will wait for her when she comes out of prison. Her lawyer (Charles Denner) is indignant when she tells him what "service" she expects of him and turns her down. In a female prison the selection of potential fathers is rather limited, but eventually she manages to single out an attractive male nurse...Simon, her son grows up in a children's home - Her lawyer helped to prevent an adoption. Not many ex-convicts have this much luck: Catherines first destination brings her to Lucienne, Henris mother, who welcomes her as if she were her own daughter and helps her find a job. From now on Catherine is selling lamps, or, as she calls it: light. They invite Simon for the holidays. Catherine showers her son with presents, but only when his school-time is near does she feel able to tell him the truth. Simon goes to grammar-school and even locates his father. But the father of his choice is his smart and free-minded history teacher. However, the boy who accepted the changes in his life with admirable nonchalance behaves like a rascal at times. Whenever his mom has a liaison, he sends the gentleman in question an anonymous letter, revealing her past... The mother-son relationship turns into a threesome when Sarah Gordon (Anouk Aimee), a notorious marriage impostor and Catherines former cell-mate, turns up and - as Catherine sees it - seduces her innocent boy. At least they're merciful enough to invite mom to take lodgings with them. Finally mom is ripe to meet the history teacher... From a prison-cell to the peak of the Montblanc - This film makes it seem possible. Go into details and it seems implausible: A warden who tells a prisoner: "Goodbye Catherine. We grew quite fond of you". An ex-convict who finds a job immediately and is promoted to managing director within a year. A boy who grows up in an orphanage without suffering psychic damage (child-abuse and crack are not even mentioned - but we're in the french province). And yet - the result is so optimistic and life-affirming that it takes the wind out of the critic's sails. That's the reason feel-good-movies are made: watch it - and you feel good. This has been one of my favorite films since I've first seen it as a child. If an unhappy person would ask me which film I would recommand to cheer him/her up - Here is one of my choices.