“Happiness is for tomorrow”: a fiery romance through the bars

“Happiness is for tomorrow”: a fiery romance through the bars

Movies

The robbers were unlucky. A few minutes after attacking a bank, they killed a man over a briefcase incident. Among them, Claude (Damien Bonnard) is sentenced to a heavy prison sentence. It’s all the more infuriating since he has just fallen in love with Sophie (Laetitia Casta), manager of a video club – we are in the 1990s – where he came to obtain the first Mesrine , the one from 1984, made by André Génovès.

From then on, the story escapes the ruts of the classic gangster film to tell a romance through bars, from the point of view of Sophie, determined in her crush. There is the wait for trials, the miles to travel, the searches in the visiting room, all the management of a daily life based on visiting days… None of this discourages the young woman if indeed “happiness is for tomorrow” , as the title in the end credits reminds us.

Despite a difficult subject, we enter the film as if we were in a friendly house where things come and go all day long… This is undoubtedly the little secret of director Brigitte Sy who, having known the prison environment and its implications well, knows how to reveal the most touching part of it.

Spontaneity

Actress and director, she gave theater workshops in prison for twenty years, where she ended up marrying one of her students. It became the big family affair which inspired his son, Louis Garrel, in 2022 with L’Innocent , a tasty heist comedy in which the latter was worried about his mother’s associations. She herself made a film from it in 2010, Free Hands , with Ronit Elkabetz and Carlo Brandt.

There is something very fiery throughout the sequences which gives the work a certain charm. Between its ellipses which make life go by at full speed and its long dialogues which hold back time, the film goes wherever hope arises… Both on the side of Saint Rita, the advocate of lost causes, and through the Sophie’s taste for colorful wigs that make you look festive.

Very quickly, we feel that this little film does not seek to make people cry, but adheres to a philosophy which is no longer so in keeping with the times, that of the spontaneity of those who do not calculate, who act without anticipating and base their convictions on immoderate optimism.

In the same way that the robbery is a form of naivety – the men enter the bank like a mill, shouting “hands up!” » and then they go, child’s play! –, Sophie’s sacrifice is reminiscent of the loves of adolescents who give themselves body and soul, without shying away from suffering, for a few grams of supreme exaltation. Besides that, the budding friendship between Sophie and her mother-in-law, Lucie (Béatrice Dalle), a former drug addict and HIV positive, appears as the sweet refuge of her passion, lulled by the musical splendors of the viola da gamba which tickles the hearts.

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