Watch May Fools
- 1 hr 47 min
May Fools is a 1990 French film directed by Louis Malle, starring Miou-Miou, Michel Piccoli, Michel Duchaussoy and others. Set in May 1968 in rural France, the film tells the story of a wealthy family who gather at their country estate to celebrate the birthday of the matriarch, Mme. Vieuzac. The film begins with a voiceover narration from Milou, the rebellious daughter of the Vieuzac family. Milou has recently returned from Paris, where she has been involved in the student protests and is still passionately committed to the revolutionary ideals of the time. As she drives towards the family estate, she describes the turmoil of the May 1968 events, which marked a turning point in French society and culture.
Upon arriving at the estate, Milou is reunited with her family members. Her conservative father, his mistress, her eccentric aunt, and her two brothers are all present. The familyâs political and social status quo is quickly established, with strict class distinctions and oppressive gender roles at the forefront.
As the family prepares for Mme. Vieuzacâs birthday celebration, tensions rise and secrets are revealed. The familyâs finances are not as stable as they seem, and both the patriarch and his mistress have hidden agendas. Milouâs brother, who is a veterinarian, is secretly treating a cow with foot-and-mouth disease, which threatens to ruin the familyâs reputation and finances. Milouâs aunt, a former actress, has a mysterious past, and her presence adds to the familyâs sense of unease.
Despite the familyâs turmoil, the birthday celebrations begin as planned, with the guests arriving in their Sunday best. A group of local peasants, who have also been invited to the celebration, provide a contrast to the wealthy familyâs excesses.
As the night progresses, the family dynamics become increasingly strained. Milou clashes with her father over his archaic attitudes towards women and social justice. Meanwhile, her aunt reveals that she has fallen in love with a younger man, causing a scandal amongst the conservative family members.
As the evening draws to a close, an unexpected event occurs that brings the family together in a way they never anticipated. In the aftermath, the family must confront their innermost secrets and desires and work to repair the damage that has been done.
May Fools is a complex and multi-layered film that explores a range of social, political and emotional issues. Set against the backdrop of the May 1968 events, the film presents a portrait of a French family and society at a crucial moment in their history. The filmâs themes of class, gender, family dynamics and political upheaval are explored through the lens of the Vieuzac familyâs experiences and relationships.
Throughout the film, Malle employs a variety of cinematic techniques to create a sense of both intimacy and detachment. The voiceover narration by Milou provides a personal perspective on the events, while the elegant framing and sophisticated camera work convey a sense of understated elegance and distance. The filmâs soundtrack, which features French pop songs from the 1960s, adds to the nostalgic atmosphere of the film.
Overall, May Fools is a significant film from the late Louis Malle, who is known for his documentaries and feature films that explore the complexities of human relationships and society. The filmâs powerful performances and intricate storytelling make it a thoughtful and engaging examination of a pivotal moment in French history and society.