Declaration of War

Declaration of War  {La Guerre Est Déclarée}
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Declaration of War
La Guerre Est Déclarée
France, 2011, 100 Minute Running Time
Topics: Drama, Woman Director
Program: Awards Buzz : Best Foreign Language Film
Language: French English Sub-Titles

Subject matter and style have rarely seemed so far apart as in Valérie Donzelli’s semi-autobiographical sophomore feature. That the story of a couple whose baby is diagnosed with a brain tumor is played in a quirky, funny, and life-affirming way is strange indeed, but even stranger is the fact that it all works beautifully. Donzelli and co-screenwriter Jérémie Elkaïm star as a young couple whose sick baby is revealed to have cancer. The formerly carefree bohemians begin the long slog through hospitals and doctors’ meetings, hoping for the best, but fearing the worst. The “declaration of war,” however, is not just on the tumor threatening their child—it is on the deadly serious but inevitably ponderous methods films usually employ when telling a story like this. Using the jump cuts, musical numbers, bright color palette, and low-budget enthusiasm one normally associates with the French New Wave filmmakers of the 60s, Donzelli infuses her tale with an energy and joie de vivre that make this an infectious delight. It is also profoundly moving–Donzelli is a unique and very gifted talent.

DIRECTOR: Valérie Donzelli
Producer: Edouard Weil
Editor: Pauline Gaillard
Screenwriter: Valérie Donzelli, Jeerémie Elkaim
Cinematographer: Sébastian Buchmann
Principal Cast: Valérie Donzelli, Jérémie Elkaïm, César Desseix, Gabriel Elkaïm, Brigitte Sy, Elina Lowensohn
Filmography: The Queen of Hearts (2009)
Print Source: Sundance Selects/IFC Films -

Consulate General of Belgium, Consulate General of Switzerland, French Embassy: LA Film & TV Office, Quebec Delegation in Los Angeles, Swiss Films, TV5Monde

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