Rumba la vie

Rumba la vie
Original title:Rumba la vie
Director:Franck Dubosc
Running time:103 minutes
Release date:Not communicated
Tony, a withdrawn school bus driver in his fifties, lives alone after abandoning his wife and child twenty years earlier. Shaken by a heart attack, he finds the courage to confront his past and enroll incognito in the dance class led by his daughter, whom he has never met, in order to win her back and give meaning to his life.

Mulder's Review

"Projects are often born from a mixture of several elements. The first, here, was the desire to shoot in the ballroom dance setting. This art form is based on a musical genre that I love, I like its elegance and the fact that it is still danced by two people. I was inspired by the color and mood of the dance and the reaction it provokes: a desire to laugh and then to love. Also, the story came to me when I felt more and more guilt about leaving my children, even for a week, to go to work. So I would say that this film was a way of relieving my guilt in a setting that I liked." - Franck Dubosc

It is interesting to see how some French distributors like Gaumont seem to insist on showing their films only to the print media without taking into account the many online media that often have a more objective view of a film, whether it is good or bad. In this case, it is clear that behind the popular comedian Franck Dubosc hides an excellent writer and director who manages to give back to French cinema all its emotional strength and far from proposing a popular comedy, delivers a universal film on our current French society and on the themes of a second chance and family.

After a very successful and critically acclaimed first film, Tout le monde debout (2018), actor, writer and director Franck Dubosc returns with a second film that is again a comedy-drama but with a greater maturity and a sincere look at the mistakes we make by dint of believing in impossible dreams. While popular French cinema tends to repeat itself and to irritate us by its lack of reflection and its presence of overrated actors, this second film does not seek at any moment to impress the spectators but rather to address a sincere message showing us that the search for our inner balance often rests on listening to the advice of those close to us and on a will to find our true self. Rumba la vie touches us deeply because of the great care given to the writing of a story that sounds true but also because of its perfect casting and inspired direction.

From the very first minutes of the film we discover Tony (Franck Dubosc) a fifty year old school bus driver who lives simply and seems to have regrets about his past mistakes, whether it be his separation from his wife or his failure to go to work in New York. He who abandoned his wife and daughter twenty years earlier sees his life turned upside down by a heart attack that will be for him a real shock.  Knowing that his life is in danger, he decides to repair the mistakes of the past and to find his ex-wife who has remarried, but above all to meet his daughter Maria (Louane Espinosa) whom he has never met. She is a Rumba dance teacher and lives only for her devouring passion. Tony will enroll under a false name in the dance classes led by his daughter and try to regain and make up for lost time. 

Based on a multitude of oppositions between Tony and Maria, whether it is the social environment, the way of life but also their behavior, these two beings will learn to know and appreciate each other and specially to make sure that there are no more lies between them. Between disappointments and reunions, Rumba la vie celebrates life in its simplest form and delivers a portrait full of tenderness on our current society. The director and actor Franck Dubosc knew perfectly how to surround himself with the beautiful Louna Espinosa but also with more experienced actors like Jean-Pierre Darroussin and Michel Houellebecq. While the film could have fallen into the sentimentalist maudlin, it is not to our great pleasure. In the same way, far from making an easy role to measure Franck Dubosc creates a character far from his alter ego present on stage and too sure of himself. His character here permanently doubts the choices to be made, the best solution to find and specially to question his misconceptions. 

Rumba la vie is the perfect example of an excellent French film that knows how to navigate between auteur and popular cinema. It remains permanently credible and delivers scenes that make us laugh or touch our hearts. This is the look of a director who knows full well that he has created a public persona for himself and has to live with it, while deep down he hides a true author, a gifted artist who shows once again with his second film that he has the makings of a great director. It emerges a sincere film that we will see again with the same pleasure and that makes us want to go to the cinema and specially to find his half or his reason to live and to start a family.

Rumba la vie
Written and directed by Franck Dubosc
Produced by Sidonie Dumas
With Franck Dubosc, Louna Espinosa, Jean-Pierre Darroussin, Marie-Philomène Nga
Music: Sylvain Goldberg, Matteo Locasciulli
Director of photography : Ludovic Colbeau-Justin
Editing : Samuel Danési
Production companies: Gaumont, Pour Toi Public Productions
Distributed by Gaumont (France)
Release date: August 24, 2022 (France)
Running time : 103 minutes

Seen on August 24, 2022 at Gaumont Disney Village, Room 8 seat A19

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