La cage dorée (The Gilded Cage)

Poster for La cage dorée (The Gilded Cage)

Winter 2014 Features series

Sunday, February 9, 2014 at 4:00pm
Sunday, February 9, 2014 at 7:00pm

Acadia Cinema's Al Whittle Theatre
450 Main Street, Wolfville, NS

Directed by Ruben Alves

Screenplay by Ruben Alves, Hugo Gélin, and Jean-André Yerles

Starring Rita Blanco, Joaquim de Almeida, and Roland Giraud

Rated NR · 1h 30m
French, Portuguese, and English

View trailer

La cage dorée (The Gilded Cage)

The ever-busy but always friendly Maria (Rita Blanco) works as a concierge at a chic Parisian building, where the Ribeiros live in a small apartment on the ground floor. Her husband, José (Joaquim De Almeida), is a respected construction foreman. Their adult daughter, Paula (Barbara Cabrita), and teenage son, Pedro (Alex Alves Pereira), both still live at home and were either born or arrived as tots in France because they prefer to speak French with each other and rarely even speak Portuguese with their parents.

The matriarch’s melodramatic sibling and fellow émigré, Lourdes (Jacqueline Corado), who is as vivacious as she is curvaceous, dreams of opening a Portuguese restaurant with Maria, though there is a sense that Maria, clearly the more pragmatic of the two, goes along with the plans simply to humor her younger sister. Things start to go comically haywire when an unexpected inheritance would make it possible for the Ribeiros to return to Portugal and live comfortably in a beautiful family home.

The simple but clever paradox at the heart of the screenplay—written by director Ruben Alves, Hugo Gélin and Jean-André Yerlès—is that the Ribeiros have worked hard for three decades to provide for their family, but that the result of their efforts, namely that they have become completely essential for their employers, actually prevents them from potentially enjoying an early retirement.

Both Maria and Jose cannot quite work up the nerve to broach the subject of their departure with their respective bosses and things get even more complicated when it is revealed that their beautiful (and unfortunately independent-minded) daughter, a working-class, second-generation immigrant, is secretly dating Charles (Lannick Gautry), the preppy son of Jose’s upper middle-class boss (Roland Giraud).

Richly informed by his own upbringing as the son of Portuguese immigrants in Paris, first-time feature film director Ruben Alves’s warm-hearted, cross-cultural comedy features a terrific ensemble cast, spot-on comic timing and a thoroughly appealing central couple, whose dilemmas are portrayed with great tenderness and affection.