Martial’s mother owns a chain of supermarkets. He had spent some years in a mental hospital because of pervasive indolence. Hoping that an active task may improve his condition, he is sent to inspect one of the supermarkets. The manager had taken a large loan of money belonging to the firm. When exposed he expects to lose his job. Instead friendship develops between him and Martial who remitted the debt. A sexual relation begins between Francine and Martial, without jealousy from her boyfriend Fernand.
Suddenly Martial disappears. He was called to his mother’s sickbed. Francine took a job as a waitress. It is not clear if she understood that the owner of the bar would force her to do sexual services for some customers. To save Francine Fernand kills the owner. The only witness is Martial who says ‘Run! Do you want to spend ten years in prison!’ If he takes the murder on him, he will just return to the luxury hospital he recently came from.
A Few Days with Me (original title: Quelques jours avec moi) is a 1988 French film directed by Claude Sautet and starring Daniel Auteuil, Sandrine Bonnaire, Jean-Pierre Marielle, Dominique Lavanant, Danielle Darrieux, Vincent Lindon, Dominique Blanc, Elisa Servier and Tanya Lopert. It received three César Award nominations at the 1989 César Awards.
Film Review for Quelques Jours avec Moi
”A Few Days With Me,” Claude Sautet’s new French film opening today at the Paris, is a wan comic fable about Martial (Daniel Auteuil), a rich, handsome, moody young man for whom life has lost all meaning. At the start of the film, he is emerging from a breakdown during which he refused to talk.
Martial doesn’t want to get close to people. That includes his pretty wife, whom he has urged to have an affair, and his mother (Danielle Darrieux), a brainy businesswoman who runs the family chain of department stores with Martial’s occasional help.
On a trip to Limoges, the usually reticent Martial takes a fancy to the pretty young woman serving the food at a dinner party. She is Francine (Sandrine Bonnaire), whom Martial can see to be a free spirit. He somehow senses she was once arrested for shoplifting. He says she is the first person he has wanted to talk to in years but, since he’s no great conversationalist, that may not mean much.
Martial does something uncharacteristic: he throws over his commitments in Paris, rents a big apartment in Limoges and settles in with Francine. He buys her the eccentric clothes of her choice, a Mercedes-Benz, and lawn furniture with which she wants to fill the apartment. He makes no demands on her. He is such a self-effacing man that even Francine’s boyfriend doesn’t mind sharing her with him.
This isn’t the half – or even the third – of ”A Few Days With Me,” which is the kind of movie that goes along from one fanciful, glumly zany incident to the next, as if what we are seeing were the synopsis for a movie not yet made. The movie is not really about anything except what happens.
Martial is played by Mr. Auteuil with the far-away look and basic lack of expression that movies find appropriate for alienation. You wouldn’t know he’s the same actor who was so fine as the idiot nephew in ”Jean de Florette” and ”Manon of the Spring.”
Martial, however, is as much a noncharacter as ”A Few Days With Me” is a nonmovie. He’s a collection of alienated attitudes, carefully sanitized so as not to threaten the bourgeois audience for which Mr. Sautet makes his soothing movies (”The Things of Life” and ”A Simple Story,” among others).
Martial is fed up with the hypocrisies of the middle class, and finally, by speaking his mind truthfully, enchants middle-class snobs as much as the members of the low classes he befriends. Mr. Sautet seems to see him as a sort of savior of the country-club set – holy, but not so holy that he abandons his large income.
Miss Bonnaire, who played a far tougher, angrier free spirit in Agnes Varda’s ”Vagabond,” is attractive and a bit vacuous. The best performances are given by the members of the supporting cast, especially Jean-Pierre Marielle and Dominique Lavanant as a frosty, bourgeois husband and wife. Under the influence of Martial, they become warm and loving. They are funny even though the movie is not.
Quelques Jours avec Moi (1988)
Directed by: Claude Sautet
Starring: Daniel Auteuil, Sandrine Bonnaire, Jean-Pierre Marielle, Dominique Lavanant, Danielle Darrieux, Vincent Lindon, Dominique Blanc, Elisa Servier, Tanya Lopert
Screenplay by: Claude Sautet, Jacques Fieschi
Production Design by: Carlos Conti
Cinematography by: Jean-François Robin
Film Editing by: Jacqueline Thiédot
Costume Design by: Olga Berluti, Nino Cerruti
Music by: Philippe Sarde
Distributed by: UGC Distribution
Release Date: August 24, 1988