Released in 1988, “Life is a long quiet river” is one of the classics of French comedy, in particular thanks to its lines that have become legendary. In the film, we find one of the future great talents of cinema: Benoît Magimel. The latter landed the role of Momo in a totally daring way.
Life is a long calm river : Monday is ravioli
After a career in advertising, Étienne Chatiliez wanted to get into cinema. Alongside co-screenwriter Florence Quentin (with whom he will collaborate on other works such as Auntie Danielle Where Happiness is in the meadow), he thus delivers a story that is somewhat inspired of his childhood memories spent in his native land in the North. He mainly takes as a model a news item that took place in Roubaix in the 1950s. Indeed, two babies had inadvertently been exchanged in the maternity ward of a hospital. Thus Life is a long calm river see the day.
Life is a long calm river follows two families that are completely opposed: the Le Quesnoys on the one hand who have a comfortable standard of living and who are known to be devout Catholics. On the other, the Currants who are much more modest, and who live off small scams of all kinds. They meet when they learn that two children from these respective families were traded when they were babies.
The film was a great public and commercial success. Indeed, he receives four César out of six nominations. It especially enters popular culture for its squeaky and hilarious dialogues.
So comes Benedict!
Life is a long calm river does not have any big star of the time in its cast. Indeed, it is a deliberate choice of Étienne Chatiliez who does not want financial and behavioral constraints. Paradoxically, it makes one of the actors a star: Benoît Magimel.
As a reminder, the actor plays in this film his first role in the cinema when he was only 13 years old at the time! It was when he was a year younger thanhe shows up at the casting of the film, alone. Indeed, Étienne Chatiliez had made an announcement, to which this son of a nurse and a bank employee responded.
Benoît Magimel is not then a child of the beautiful districts of Paris, and he is not a child of stars either. During his tests, he launches, quoted by TV 7 Days :
I know the street well and I feel closer to the Groseilles than to the Le Quesnoys.
It is his autonomy and his audacity that amaze the director of Life is a calm riverand which allow him to land the role of Momo. And this, while the announcement had at least 1600 applications!
The director remembers:
He came on his own initiative and his autonomy impressed me. We already felt that he had the seed of a future actor.
The young Benoît Magimel will thus experience an enchanted summer of filming between Hénin-Beaumont and Bapaume (in Pas-de-Calais). This experience led him to stop his studies three years later, to fully embrace the profession of artist. We know the rest…