Director Rémi Bezançon retreads old ground with Nos Futurs a bromance about two childhood friends who are struggling to cope with the responsibilties of adulthood. Yann (Pierre Rochefort), an uptight, insurance broker, is trapped in a job at the company he inherited from his late father and seeks comfort on the psycho-analyst’s couch. His old school friend Thomas (Pio Marmai) is stuck in a time warp deliberately shunning mobile phones and the internet and is still employed at the fast food restaurant where he worked after high school. Bezançon re-uses the theme of adults and nostalgia for the simpler pleasures of youth from previous films even recreating Rochefort’s character, Yann Kerbac, from his first full length feature Ma Vie en L’Air. After a series of recent French films celebrating adult male friendships such as Entre Amis, Nos Femmes and On Voulait Tout Casser, Nos Futurs follows hot on the heels of Michel Gondry’s autobiographical hommage to his childhood BFF in Microbe et Gasoil. But Bezançon lacks Gondry’s visual and creative talents and Nos Futurs is a series of predictable scenes of drunken high school parties, smoking weed and failed romances. And there are no surprises when the wild young things of the nineties turn out to be boring adults fast approaching middle-age.
Nos Futurs kicks off with a surprise birthday party for Yann organised by his wife Estelle (Mélanie Bernier) who has put together a video using old photographs from Yann’s schooldays which largely feature his then best friend Thomas. The two have lost touch and Yann decides to give his old school pal a call. To his suprise, he discovers Thomas stil lives in the same apartment, rides the same scooter, wears the same style of clothes and drinks the same cheap brand of wine. The two reminisce about the good ole days and the group of friends they used to hang out with. Eventually Thomas suggests they contact all their old school mates to recreate their high school graduation party. After much persuasion Yann agrees, and the two set off on a road trip across France to persuade the old gang to come together one last time and on the way they rediscover their old friendship.
There is a twist to Nos Futurs
that Bezançon reserves for the film’s final scenes. But so much of the Nos Futurs
is spent building up to this key moment the rest of film feels slow and repetitive. And like Gondry’s Microbe and Gasoil
, the film works best if you buy into the theory that schooldays really were the best days of your life and adult life is a series of disappointments. Pio Marmai works overtime to infuse the film with the energy lacking in both the scenario and dialogue. He is one of France’s most prolific young actors appearing in six feature films over the past 18 months including Lea Fazer’s excellent Maestro
and Marc Fitoussi’s La Ritournelle
. He is a gifted comic actor, but despite his best efforts the film still lacks pace and direction. As his alter-ego, Rochefort successfully portrays Yann’s fear and reluctance to fully embrace adult life, but he is overshadowed by the ebullient Marmai. Alongside more seasoned actors, Besançon has drafted in a couple of rising stars from the small screen. Camille Cottin, who plays the wife of old school friend DJ Mad Max (Kyan Khojandi) made her name with a popular TV series Connasse
which later became a film Connasse Princesse des Coeurs
pulling in over a 1 million admissions at the box office Likewise Khojandi has a big following as the star of Bref
on the cable channel Canal Plus. Is this a blatant attempt to draw in a younger audience? If so Bezançon also needs fresher, edgier material.
Nos Futurs opens with a quote from F Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby: “So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past” Perhaps it’s time for Bezançon to put the past safely behind him.
DIRECTOR’S BIO – REMI BEZANCON