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Life Is a Bed of Roses (La Vie Est Un Roman) (1983)

2.8 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Alain Resnais pays tribute to three influential French filmmakers Georges Melies, Marcel L Herbier and Eric Rohmer with this lighthearted film about happiness and the power of the imagination. Life Is a Bed of Roses is divided into three parallel narratives. The first section is set around the first decade of the twentieth century in the Ardennes, where Count Forbeck (Ruggero Raimondi) unveils his architect s designs for a utopian city. In a modern day mirroring of this story, a group of professors now inhabiting Forbeck s castle seek a new form of education through the use of the imagination, under the guidance of a guru named Guarini (Vittorio Gassman Big Deal on Madonna Street, Sharky s Machine). The third segment depicts a Wagnerian fantasy landscape of kings and dragons, which arises from the imagination of the children of some of the professors at the school. With ingenuity and great craftsmanship, Resnais weaves together these three threads to make Life Is a Bed of Roses a compelling and entertaining mixture of drama, satire, comedy, fantasy and music.

Review

Life Is a Bed of Roses exists on three levels, each of a deliberate - and at times quite delightful - eccentricity --Janet Maslin, THE NEW YORK TIMES

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Geraldine Chaplin, Vittorio Gassman, Fanny Ardant, Sabine Azema
  • Directors: Alain Resnais
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: French
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: KINO VIDEO
  • DVD Release Date: February 19, 2008
  • Run Time: 110 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 2.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0011367QG
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #313,204 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
First off, the commonly accepted translation of the title seems to be bad-It should more properly be called Life is a Fairy Tale. This film explores two main themes. The first theme involves the idea that people never really grow up-they continue to be self centered children with unrealistic views of the world. The other theme is that no individual can be happy unless some other individual is miserable. These themes are explored in typical Resnais fashion-which is to say, in a way that is in turns brilliant and confusing. Naturally, the narrative is not straightforward, rather, it is broken into two main threads and a third crucial but brief one.

The most bizarre (and off putting) thing about this film is the singing-occasionally, a character will suddenly begin singing instead of talking. The other characters tend to respond with normal dialogue as if nothing unusual was going on. This lends a sort of surreal feeling to the already odd mood of the film. According to the special features of the DVD of this, Resnais feels that it is easier to move the story along if his characters sing instead of conversing.

I've only seen this film once, but I feel that I should see it again soon. Resnais films always reward multiple viewings and I doubt this is the exception.
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Format: DVD
The film is outrageously surreal and amazing. The film opens in cinematic photography that flows in a beautiful image of an autumn season with gentlemen in black cloaks and top hats, and with women in colourful ball gowns who converge in a flock on a green lawn within a forest. The film engages interest from the very beginning with the cluster of characters, focusing our attention and intriguing us with striking and interesting dialogue – there are lots are ideas swirling around here. There is humour too –tending to be macabre, but intended to be childish as well. And so, the film begins in the grounds of a forest in Arden where a strange castle is to be built by an eccentric and wealthy Count. The invited special guests ‘coo’ together in chorus of astonishment as the model of the fairy tale castle is revealed. The castle is decorated in a mixture of colours with imagination to the exotic and the orient –the design and the colours are inspiring to the imagination.

The story will revolve around the castle in 3 stories of different time zones, but not involving the same characters. Ingeniously, the film moves effortlessly and mysteriously in each time zone. It is like a story within a story, and there seems to be no boundary of time.....from an ancient kingdom that intrigues - like a Shakespearian play that is set in extraordinary colours in the forest.....to a present day that is set 60 years after the castle was built ( with a fleeting and a dreamy reference to World War 1, which interrupted the full completion of the castle ).....and then of course back to the first part of the story with the original guests who viewed the model castle and are back again once the castle was completed.....
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Format: DVD
It was tacky and irritating... It could have only been done in the early 80s and in France... The only redeeming quality was Fanny Ardant... At that point of her life she was one of the most beautiful & attractive women ever... What was in Resnais' mind?... I watched this the day after I experienced 'Love onto Death' which I thought was a great meditation on life and death... If you want to witness what a medicore foreign film looks like, please download Life is a Bed of Roses... Avoid paying anything (like I did) to get this one...
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I waited months and months for this to become available. Finally it arrived in the mail. I was ecstatic. And then I played the DVD. I was crestfallen. It barely seemed like the movie about which I'd read. The tone was in some very unsatisfying region between realism and fantasy, never quite enough of one or the other to please. The occasional spurts of ideology were presented as though the author had never encountered anyone of a differing point of view. It seems like an anachronism now.
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