Vincent, François, Paul and the Others

France, 1974, 113 min, 2K DCP, Dir. Claude Sautet, Not Rated, French with English subtitles
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Claude Sautet recruited three of the leading French stars of their generation - Yves Montand, Michel Piccoli and Serge Reggiani - for this wise, beautifully acted, enormously moving portrait of a trio of lifelong friends at the crossroads of middle age, based on a novel by Claude Néron (Max et les Ferrailleurs). Vincent (Montand) is an industrialist with an estranged wife (Stéphane Audran) and a heavily mortgaged business on the verge of bankruptcy. François (Piccoli) is a doctor whose youthful ideals long ago gave way to financial motivations. And Paul (Reggiani) is an author with a serious case of writer's block. All three men try to vicariously relive their youth through Vincent's protege (Gérard Depardieu in a star-is-born performance), an aspiring professional boxer. With his signature understatement and precise powers of observation, Sautet weaves us through these men's lives as myriad crises erupt, concessions are made, and time marches on. A massive hit in France and an obvious template for the likes of The Big ChillVincent, François, Paul and the Others ranks among Sautet's finest contemplations of the human condition.