A sick child – you gotta laugh
Declaration of War has it all: comedy, romance, fantasy, musical interludes and a child with a brain tumour. Wait – what? A quick trawl through the memory turns up no other movie like this comedydrama, about the ordeal of a sexy young couple (His name? Romeo. Hers is Juliette) who learn their infant son needs brain surgery. The stars and screenwriters (Valerie Donzelli, who is also the director, and Jeremie Elkaim) recapped their own similar experiences as the parents of a gravely ill son. This fact liberates their characters to burst into song or jokes. On the eve of a major surgery, they discuss their deepest fears: that their child could come out of it blind. Or blind and deaf. Or blind and deaf and mute. Or blind and deaf and mute and a dwarf. A black dwarf. A gay black dwarf. Who is a right-wing nutcase. The aura of an authentically frenzied ordeal is all over this entertaining and moving (but not morbid or depressing) film and yet so is a calming wisdom, a sense of looking back soberly at bygone tribulations delivered in the spirit of Jules and Jim. The tricks don’t all work (particularly the duet the couple sing while in different places), but the film’s cheeky verve is a pleasure and a wonder.
Valerie Donzelli and Jeremie Elkaim star in the French comedy/drama