For our December discussion, we invite you to watch the beautifully composed, interwoven stories of the lives of the parents Abel and Junon, their three grown children with husbands, wives and girlfriends, grandkids, a somewhat lost artist cousin, and other friends who arrive at the Vuillard house for a Christmas family reunion in the post-industrial northern city of Roubaix.

There are family secrets and rivalries and acts of extreme bitterness and tenderness, as the script explores the mathematics of cancer survival, the mistakes teenage boys make that can change their lives forever, and the grace that even the most angry and disaffected can find after all.

It’s a crazy but moving journey from beginning to end. Desplechin sings a cinematic love song to Roubaix, to all his actors in the amazing ensemble cast, to jazz and to filmmaking itself.

Rent or purchase the film from the streaming platform of your choice, and watch it at your leisure. Then join Joelle Pluchon and Peter Zingg for a bilingual online discussion of the film on December 7 at 5 pm.

Please RSVP below to receive the Zoom link.

Film Details

Original title / Titre originale: Un conte de Noël (2008)
Running time / Durée: 2h32m
Genres: Drama, Comedy
Directed by / Réalisé par: Arnaud Desplechin
Casting: Catherine Deneuve, Anne Consigny, Emmanuelle Devos, Chiara Mastroianni, Jean-Paul Roussillon, Mathieu Amalric, Hippolyte Girardot
Stream it online / Regarder sur: Criterion Channel, DIRECTV, Apple iTunes, Amazon Video, Microsoft Store

À l’origine, Abel et Junon eurent deux enfants, Joseph et Elizabeth. Atteint d’une maladie génétique rare, le petit Joseph devait recevoir une greffe de moelle osseuse. Elizabeth n’était pas compatible, ses parents conçurent alors un troisième enfant dans l’espoir de sauver Joseph. Mais Henri qui allait bientôt naître, lui non plus, ne pouvait rien pour son frère – et Joseph mourut à l’âge de sept ans. Après la naissance d’un petit dernier, Ivan, la famille Vuillard se remet doucement de la mort du premier-né…

When their regal matriarch falls ill, the troubled Vuillard family come together for a hesitant Christmastime reunion. Among them is rebellious ne’er-do-well Henri and the uptight Elizabeth. Together under the same roof for the first time in many years, their intricate, long denied resentments and yearnings emerge again.


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