1968 Film Group presents
‘Le Projet Familial’
In an ever changing world, at first sight the Demailly family seem to have stopped time in its tracks. The grand family house where they once lived is testament to a different era in a Parisian suburb.
Three generations of the Demailly family still live in Le Perreux-sur-Marne. The father Alain, 52 years old, moved here when he was one. He has always lived on the same street although his house number has changed 3 times. He is a blacksmith by trade.
He believes his suburb has changed a lot in 51 years. He witnessed the loss of its soul he says. The ‘Bistrots’ are not happy gathering places anymore, the owners are out to make money, and they are mostly foreigners he adds...
A few months before the French presidential elections where the far right, Marine Le Pen’s Front National, could well win the day, the Demailly family, are the eyewitnesses who will be asked to take action as will all French voters.
Where is the “joie de vivre” in the Demailly couple’s daily life? Murielle, 50, Alain’s wife, says everything happens fast, everyone has to work so fast that taking some time out for yourself is frowned upon.
Their children on the other hand sound a strikingly optimistic note. The son, Romain, 26, worked as a chef in London. There, he even found the time to take up fencing again. He started the sport in le Perreux-sur-Marne when he was a child, at the same school, headed by the same director, taught by the same teacher as his uncle and aunt some 30 years before. But when adulthood came, he had to choose between work and pleasure. He chose work until he moved to London and allowed himself the time to rekindle his love of his favourite leisure activity.
Marion, the daughter, 24, is a young law clerk. She works in a firm a few yards away from the family home, where the men are the bosses even though the majority of employees are women. She is quite hopeful about her own future but at the same time she realises that many young people are not given the chance or the helping hand they need to succeed in life. France is in crisis she says, and providing stepping-stones to a good life for its youth does not seem to be the priority.
While everyone is trying to figure out their place in society and the wider world, Jacques, the grandfather, 75, happily drives his Solex, a frail motorbike built from 1946 to 1988 and his old Coccinnelle, a very old model of Wolkswagen car which used to be popular in France during the 60s.
Emerging from a mix of tradition, cosy old habits and nostalgic sentiment, the twelve members of the extended Demailly family really represent the present day: they live in a France proud of its ancient heritage, but which greatly needs a make over.
The Demailly family have lived in the same suburb of Eastern Paris for over a century.
Filmmaker Peter Bromley captures the lives of this working class family at a time of political, social and cultural changes in French society. His film asks what does it mean to be French today? What future have French men and women in Europe now, compared with 30 years ago?
Camera Claude Bromley
Sound Andre Rooler
Music Tarquin Calver
Editor Alice Gunn
Producer Ranna McArdle
Assistant Justine Beckett
Press Marie Billon
Director Peter Bromley
Production 1968 Film Group