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Film / Happiness Is in the Field

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Happiness Is in the Field (French: Le bonheur est dans le pré) is a 1995 French comedy film directed by Étienne Chatiliez, starring Michel Serrault and Eddy Mitchell.

Francis Bergeade (Serrault) is the general manager of a factory which manufactures toilet brushes and toilet seats. He is unhappy with his life: his employees are on strike, he undergoes a tax audit, his daughter wants to organize a very expensive wedding ceremony and his wife is very unpleasant with him. His best friend, Gérard Thulliez (Mitchell), tries to cheer him up and he takes him out for a meal, but Francis feels faint. During his recovery, Francis watches a TV show, where a woman and her two daughters call for finding back their disappeared husband and father. They show a photograph of him and he looks exactly like Francis.


Happiness Is in the Field provides examples of:

  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: Francis is a nice guy. His wife Nicole is very unpleasant with him. Gérard is very rude with her and he even rapes her. Nicole falls in love with him.
  • Arcadia: Condom, Gers is a rural area where Francis learns to enjoy life.
  • Awful Wedded Life: Francis and Nicole. They cannot stand each other.
  • Best Friend: Gérard is Francis's best friend.
  • Black Comedy Rape: Nicole is raped by Gérard and this is Played for Laughs.
  • Call to Agriculture: Francis was the general manager of a factory, but he prefers to live a simple life in a farm with Dolorès and her daughters.
  • The Cameo: Éric Cantona as Lionel, the boyfriend of one of Michel's daughters.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: The Thivarts' old neighbor. He only becomes important when Francis and Gérard guess that he knows what happened to Michel.
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  • City Mouse: Nicole is very uncomfortable when she tries to help to make foie gras with her suit on.
  • The City vs. the Country: Francis lives in a city, but he is unhappy with his life. He has the opportunity to move to the countryside, where he finds happiness.
  • Criminal Doppelgänger: Michel Thivart is a criminal. He looks exactly like Francis Bergeade. Michel's daughters think that Francis is Michel.
  • Dead Person Impersonation: Francis Bergeade impersonates Michel Thivart. In the end, Francis understands that Michel died in 1968.
  • Disappeared Dad: Michel, Zig and Puce's father, disappeared in 1968.
  • Everybody Knew Already: When Francis confesses that he is not Michel Thivart, Dolorès tells him that she knew it all along.
  • Fainting: Francis feels faint in the restaurant because he is exhausted.
  • The Ghost: Michel Thivart. He plays an important role in the plot, but he never appears. Actually, he is dead.
  • Henpecked Husband: Francis is dominated by his wife Nicole.
  • Hospital Hottie: Lison, the nurse who looks after Francis after he feels faint. Gérard has a crush on her and later he tells Francis that he has a date with her.
  • Identical Stranger: Michel Thivart and Francis Bergeade look exactly like each other. Michel's daughters think that Francis is Michel.
  • Intimidating Revenue Service: One of Francis's problems is that he undergoes a tax audit, so he has no money any more (so he cannot afford the expenses of his daughter's wedding ceremony).
  • I Will Wait for You: Dolorès has waited for her husband's return since 1968. Subverted: When Francis shows up and pretends to be Michel, she accepts him as her husband, even if she knows he is not Michel.
  • Literary Allusion Title: The title is taken from a poem by Paul Fort.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: The TV show Où es-tu ? and its host Charles are expies of the real-life show Perdu de vue and its host Jacques Pradel.
  • Posthumous Character: Michel Thivart. In the end, Francis understands that he died in 1968.
  • Rape Portrayed as Redemption: Nicole, Francis's wife, is a total Jerkass. Gérard rapes her in his car (or at least he has violent sex with her). After this assault, she becomes a better person. She even falls in love with her aggressor.
  • Really Gets Around: Zig, one of Michel's daughters, has many boyfriends. At some point, she even has two boyfriends at the same time.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Gérard is the Red Oni (he is very enthusiastic, he enjoys life, he is vulgar...). Francis is the Blue Oni (he is calm, he is dominated by his wife and he does not dare to challenge her).
  • The Reveal:
    • Michel Thivart is a criminal.
    • Michel Thivart died in 1968.
  • Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: Francis is the sensitive guy and Gérard the manly man.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Michel's daughters are nicknamed Zig and Puce, like the characters of the comics series by Alain Saint-Ogan.
    • The Thivarts watch Vibroboy by Jan Kounen on TV.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: Dolorès and Nicole. Dolorès has no qualms about cutting up ducks to make foie gras. Nicole is very uncomfortable when she tries to help with her suit on.
  • Vomit Indiscretion Shot: When Nicole vomits after trying to help in the foie gras workshop.

Alternative Title(s): Le Bonheur Est Dans Le Pre


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