Les Uns et les autres


2h 53m 1984

Brief Synopsis

Various family histories are covered over a 45-year period of the 20th century.

Film Details

Also Known As
Bolero, Ins and the Outs, The, uns et les autres
Release Date
1984

Technical Specs

Duration
2h 53m

Synopsis

Various family histories are covered over a 45-year period of the 20th century.

Film Details

Also Known As
Bolero, Ins and the Outs, The, uns et les autres
Release Date
1984

Technical Specs

Duration
2h 53m

Articles

Bolero


In the early '80s, the French director Claude Lelouch took on an ambitious and personal project, an epic-length celebration of song and dance performance over a non-linear dramatic backdrop spanning two continents and three generations. The end result, Les Uns et les Autres (1982), has recently made its way to DVD courtesy of Image Entertainment. While the film stirred a fair amount of debate upon its release over whether Lelouch's reach had exceeded his grasp, it stands as a challenging and ultimately worthwhile view for those determined to stay with it.

Retitled Bolero for its American theatrical run, Les Uns et les Autres' narrative is framed by a modern-day presentation of the Ravel piece by an array of multinational artists at a grand humanitarian benefit held in Paris. From this opening, the action tracks back to the mid-'30s, where the ancestors of the participants are introduced. The Russian ballerina Tatiana (Rita Poelvoorde) is edged out in her audition for the national company, but sufficiently impresses the judging panelist Boris (Jorge Donn) to receive a marriage proposal. Anne (Nicole Garcia), a violinist for the Folies Bergere, is successfully wooed by the pianist Simon (Robert Hossein). American big band leader Jack Glenn (James Caan) has just been given a daughter by his lead singer spouse Suzan (Geraldine Chaplin), and the German prodigy Karl (Daniel Olbrychski) has given a well-received command performance for his country's chancellor.

Of course, said chancellor soon has his forces storm Poland, and the players' lives are forever altered. Boris is packed off to the Russian front, and Anne and Simon make an ultimately futile bid to avoid the camps. Jack and Karl, in parallel fates, are pressed into their respective militaries in morale-boosting capacities, with the former doing U.S.O gigs and the latter stationed in occupied France.

After the Armistice, the action jumps forward 20 years, where France is now welcoming its military home from Algeria. Up to this point, the structure of the script has already made Les Uns et les Autres daunting to follow; Lelouch opted to have his actors portray their characters' descendants, causing a further strain on the audience's concentration. Anne & Simon's son (Hossein), abandoned as an infant in a gamble on his survival and raised as Robert Prat, returns from the Algerian conflict with five service buddies, and their journey to middle age takes up most of the film's dramatic impetus from this point on. Jack's gay son Jason (Caan) devotes most of his energies promoting the burgeoning career of his unfulfilled pop vocalist sister Sara (Chaplin). Tatiana and Boris' son Sergei (Donn) comes to prominence in the world of ballet, and the aging Karl deals with the repercussions of his war-era associations.

It's a fairly unwieldy dramatic construction, and Lelouch's mortar of choice for keeping it all together is the music. The score boasts contributions from Michel Legrand, Francis Lai, and Marilyn and Alan Bergman, and it permeates the narrative completely, as the story's entertainer protagonists are almost constantly captured in rehearsal or performance. The camerawork is handled with flair throughout, and Lelouch's affection for song, dance, and their practitioners is patently deep. Between the narrative leaps, the multiple roles, and its sheer length, Les Uns et les Autres doesn't lend itself to a casual viewing. The rewards one draws from viewing the film wholly depend to the extent that one is willing to overlook these flaws for the virtues of the soundtrack.

While the caliber of the video and audio mastering is more than acceptable, the running time clocks in at over 176 minutes. Image's print is a shade longer than the 173-minute American release print of Bolero, yet shy of the 184-minute French cut. Further, a 263-minute version has also been circulated in the past. Many of the perceived story flaws in the film, from lack of character development to plot threads left dangling, could well have been addressed in this excised material. It's regretful that the audience that would be most interested in Les Uns et les Autres's release on DVD was not better catered to in terms of offering the additional footage. As with most of Image's Lelouch releases of recent vintage, extras are conspicuously absent.

For more information about Les Uns et les Autres, visit Image Entertainment. To order Les Uns et les Autres, go to TCM Shopping.

by Jay S. Steinberg
Bolero

Bolero

In the early '80s, the French director Claude Lelouch took on an ambitious and personal project, an epic-length celebration of song and dance performance over a non-linear dramatic backdrop spanning two continents and three generations. The end result, Les Uns et les Autres (1982), has recently made its way to DVD courtesy of Image Entertainment. While the film stirred a fair amount of debate upon its release over whether Lelouch's reach had exceeded his grasp, it stands as a challenging and ultimately worthwhile view for those determined to stay with it. Retitled Bolero for its American theatrical run, Les Uns et les Autres' narrative is framed by a modern-day presentation of the Ravel piece by an array of multinational artists at a grand humanitarian benefit held in Paris. From this opening, the action tracks back to the mid-'30s, where the ancestors of the participants are introduced. The Russian ballerina Tatiana (Rita Poelvoorde) is edged out in her audition for the national company, but sufficiently impresses the judging panelist Boris (Jorge Donn) to receive a marriage proposal. Anne (Nicole Garcia), a violinist for the Folies Bergere, is successfully wooed by the pianist Simon (Robert Hossein). American big band leader Jack Glenn (James Caan) has just been given a daughter by his lead singer spouse Suzan (Geraldine Chaplin), and the German prodigy Karl (Daniel Olbrychski) has given a well-received command performance for his country's chancellor. Of course, said chancellor soon has his forces storm Poland, and the players' lives are forever altered. Boris is packed off to the Russian front, and Anne and Simon make an ultimately futile bid to avoid the camps. Jack and Karl, in parallel fates, are pressed into their respective militaries in morale-boosting capacities, with the former doing U.S.O gigs and the latter stationed in occupied France. After the Armistice, the action jumps forward 20 years, where France is now welcoming its military home from Algeria. Up to this point, the structure of the script has already made Les Uns et les Autres daunting to follow; Lelouch opted to have his actors portray their characters' descendants, causing a further strain on the audience's concentration. Anne & Simon's son (Hossein), abandoned as an infant in a gamble on his survival and raised as Robert Prat, returns from the Algerian conflict with five service buddies, and their journey to middle age takes up most of the film's dramatic impetus from this point on. Jack's gay son Jason (Caan) devotes most of his energies promoting the burgeoning career of his unfulfilled pop vocalist sister Sara (Chaplin). Tatiana and Boris' son Sergei (Donn) comes to prominence in the world of ballet, and the aging Karl deals with the repercussions of his war-era associations. It's a fairly unwieldy dramatic construction, and Lelouch's mortar of choice for keeping it all together is the music. The score boasts contributions from Michel Legrand, Francis Lai, and Marilyn and Alan Bergman, and it permeates the narrative completely, as the story's entertainer protagonists are almost constantly captured in rehearsal or performance. The camerawork is handled with flair throughout, and Lelouch's affection for song, dance, and their practitioners is patently deep. Between the narrative leaps, the multiple roles, and its sheer length, Les Uns et les Autres doesn't lend itself to a casual viewing. The rewards one draws from viewing the film wholly depend to the extent that one is willing to overlook these flaws for the virtues of the soundtrack. While the caliber of the video and audio mastering is more than acceptable, the running time clocks in at over 176 minutes. Image's print is a shade longer than the 173-minute American release print of Bolero, yet shy of the 184-minute French cut. Further, a 263-minute version has also been circulated in the past. Many of the perceived story flaws in the film, from lack of character development to plot threads left dangling, could well have been addressed in this excised material. It's regretful that the audience that would be most interested in Les Uns et les Autres's release on DVD was not better catered to in terms of offering the additional footage. As with most of Image's Lelouch releases of recent vintage, extras are conspicuously absent. For more information about Les Uns et les Autres, visit Image Entertainment. To order Les Uns et les Autres, go to TCM Shopping. by Jay S. Steinberg

Quotes

Trivia

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States Spring April 1984

Released in United States Spring April 1984