In Estaque, a northern suburb of Marseilles, stuck between oil refinery smokestacks and the Mediterranean sea, a handful of die-hards has taken refuge in a cabaret. There is José, the owner, a big-hearted gypsy who loves cars and women’s bodies; Joséfa, his wife, the establishment’s stripper despite her advanced years and Marie-Sol who climbs the hill every day to visit Notre-Dame de la Garde and beseech Virgin Mary to give her a child. There is Patrick, her husband who has been unemployed for ages but who is kind despite appearances and their friend Jaco who is having a hard time. His wife and daughters hate him for not keeping up on the mortgage repayments. Last but not least is Papa Carlossa who believes that Franco still rules Spain and fantasizes about bumping him off. Alternately sad and comic, with its colorful characters, entertaining dialogue and light social commentary, “Unto Life, Unto Death” gives us the portrait of people searching for identity and struggling to survive. The result is a film that is unexpectedly fresh and brimming with love.
UNTO LIFE, UNTO DEATH
- Robert Guédiguian