This week, BUFS is pleased to present Bright Days Ahead (Les beaux jours).
In a lovely seaside town in France, a dentist named Caroline takes early retirement in the wake of her best friend’s death. She isn’t fully ready, and soon finds herself at loose ends. Her well-meaning daughters get her a trial membership at the local seniors’ centre (called Bright Days Ahead) in the hopes that she might find a way to pass her time.
Caroline finds a new hobby, though probably not the kind her children had envisioned for her. After a few patronizing classes in arts and crafts, Caroline’s husband, Philippe, complains about their home computer system. Caroline agrees to ask about it at the centre. That’s when she meets Julien, the computer instructor, an incorrigible ladies’ man. Before long, he and Caroline fall into a passionate affair.
Luckily, their passion does not translate into delusion. Caroline wants to stay married to her husband of forty years. For his part, Julien has no interest in committing to any of his lovers, no matter how enchanted he is by Caroline. They aim for discretion, even as they enjoy the thrills and novelty of their relationship.
Yet the best of intentions have a way of going awry in French comedies like this one, which takes a light look at aging and relationships without sacrificing authenticity or emotional heft. Writer-director Marion Vernoux plays each note just right, and Fanny Ardant is luminous in the lead role.
Bright Days Ahead screens Wednesday at 7:00 p.m. at the Landmark Theatres, Pen Centre. Visit brocku.ca/bufs for details or follow @BUFS on Twitter.