La Famille Bélier

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La Famille Bélier
La Famille Bélier (poster).jpg
French theatrical release poster
Directed byÉric Lartigau
Written by
Produced by
CinematographyRomain Winding
Edited byJennifer Augé
Music by
  • Evgueni Galperine
  • Sacha Galperine
Distributed byMars Distribution
Release dates
  • 7 November 2014 (2014-11-07) (Arras Film Festival)
  • 17 December 2014 (2014-12-17) (France)
Running time
105 minutes
  • France
  • Belgium
Budget$13 million[1]
Box office$72.8 million[2]

La Famille Bélier (released as The Bélier Family in Australia) is a 2014 French-Belgian coming-of-age comedy-drama film directed by Éric Lartigau.[3] The film received six nominations at the 40th César Awards, winning Most Promising Actress for Louane Emera.[4] It won a Magritte Award in the category of Best Foreign Film.[5]

An English-language remake of the film, CODA, premiered in January 2021 and won three Academy Awards, including Best Picture.


In the Bélier family, sixteen-year-old Paula is an indispensable interpreter for her deaf parents and brother on a daily basis, especially in the running of the family farm. One day, a music teacher discovers her gift for singing and encourages Paula to audition for the prestigious Maîtrise de Radio France music college in Paris, which will secure her a good career and a college degree. However, this decision would mean leaving her family and taking her first steps towards adulthood.[6]


Louane Emera and Éric Lartigau at a preview event

Box office[edit]

In cinemas, La Famille Bélier received 7,450,944 admissions, making it the second-most successful in the French box office for 2014, behind only Serial (Bad) Weddings.[7] Outside of France, it received 3,877,283 cinema spectators.[7]

The film was a commercial success, earning a reported $72,751,538 (US) worldwide[1] against a budget of just under €11 million ($13 million US).[7]

Deaf response[edit]

Deaf French journalist Marylène Charrière, writing for Websourd, stated: "It's good to show the larger public what it means to be deaf to use French Sign Language. Most people are unaware, thinking that it is not a true language". Conversely, her colleague Julia Pelhate stated that "What is awkward is that French Sign Language is not respected. There are many mistakes. During the preview in Toulouse, on 31 October 2014, the deaf audience needed to read the subtitles, as it could not understand what was being signed on the screen".[8]

The British newspaper The Independent reported that "Some —but not all— activists for the deaf are angry that two well-known actors with perfect hearing were cast to play Paula's parents who are users of French Sign Language. They also complain that the deaf characters are the main source of comedy in the film."[9] Rebecca Atkinson, writing an opinion for The Guardian, criticized the premise, "A hearing child grows up in a totally deaf farming family, only to have a talent for singing that her family can't appreciate or access." Atkinson said, "Hearing people's fascination with the relationship between music and deafness just does not resonate with most deaf people." Atkinson also criticized the casting, "The film uses hearing actors to play the roles of deaf characters, the result of which is an embarrassing and crass interpretation of deaf culture and sign language."[10]


Award / Film Festival Category Recipients and nominees Result
César Awards Best Film Nominated
Best Actor François Damiens Nominated
Best Actress Karin Viard Nominated
Best Supporting Actor Éric Elmosnino Nominated
Most Promising Actress Louane Emera Won
Best Original Screenplay Victoria Bedos, Stanislas Carré de Malberg, Éric Lartigau and Thomas Bidegain Nominated
European Film Awards Best Comedy Nominated
Globes de Cristal Award Best Film Nominated
Best Actor François Damiens Nominated
Lumières Awards Best Film Nominated
Best Actress Karin Viard Won
Most Promising Actress Louane Emera Won
Best Screenplay Victoria Bedos, Stanislas Carré de Malberg, Éric Lartigau and Thomas Bidegain Nominated
Magritte Awards[5][11] Best Actor François Damiens Nominated
Best Foreign Film in Coproduction Won
Sarlat Film Festival[12] Salamandre d'or (Audience Award) Won


English-language remake[edit]

An English-language remake, titled CODA, premiered on January 28, 2021, at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival, where Apple acquired its distribution rights and co-production partnership for a festival-record $25 million. The film was released in theaters and through the Apple TV+ streaming service on August 13, 2021. CODA won three Oscars at the 94th Academy Awards for Best Picture, Best Supporting Actor (Kotsur), and Best Adapted Screenplay. Among its various other accolades, the film won the Producers Guild of America Award for Best Theatrical Motion Picture and the Writers Guild of America Award for Best Adapted Screenplay, and its cast won the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture.[13][14]

Planned stage musical adaptation[edit]

On March 23, 2022, it was reported by The New York Times that in order to keep the film's English-language remake CODA relevance going after awards season, the film's producers will team up with Deaf West Theatre to develop a stage musical adaptation of the film, with a creative team and production calendar yet to be announced. DJ Kurs, Deaf West's artistic director, expressed excitement for the project by saying "As a Deaf person, I knew from the start that CODA would make a perfect musical: It addresses our relationship with music and how we move through the world of sound like immigrants in a foreign country, learning new, seemingly arbitrary rules on the fly." Like Deaf West's production of Spring Awakening, the musical will incorporate both signing in American Sign Language and live singing.[15]

The report also revealed that Rousselet was originally asked in 2014 about making a stage version of La Famille Bélier prior to this incarnation, but that he and the producers wanted to prioritize making CODA and forging a relationship with Deaf West first before pursuing a stage version. Rousselet further remarked "It’s going to be a new adventure for us. But I think it has everything — the characters, the music, the wonderful environment — to make a beautiful musical." Kotsur revealed that he hopes the musical will have its initial staging within two years, possibly hinting at his return to reprise his role as Frank in the production.[15] Kurs also revealed his desire to have Matlin and Durant also come back to reprise their roles as Jackie and Leo, respectively, along with Kotsur.[16]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "The Bélier Family". Box Office Mojo.
  2. ^ "The Bélier Family". Box Office Mojo.
  3. ^ Lemercier, Fabien (22 October 2013). "Jerico goes straight ahead with La famille Bélier". Cineuropa. Retrieved 15 November 2014.
  4. ^ "Anurag Kashyap, Vikas Bahl to remake French film 'La Famille Bélier' in multiple Indian languages". The Indian Express. February 13, 2016.
  5. ^ a b Moury, Gaëlle; Bradfer, Fabienne (February 7, 2016). "Jaco Van Dormael et la Flandre se distinguent aux Magritte du cinéma". Le Soir (in French). Archived from the original on March 12, 2016. Retrieved February 7, 2016.
  6. ^ "La Famille Bélier, a Feel-good Movie à la française at Ciné Lumière!". Institut français du Royaume-Uni.
  7. ^ a b c "La Famille Bélier". JP's Box-Office (in French).
  8. ^ Guérin, Alexandre (20 December 2014). ""La famille Bélier" fait polémique chez les sourds" [“The Bélier family” is controversial among the deaf]. La Dépêche du Midi (in French).
  9. ^ Lichfield, John (17 December 2014). "La Famille Bélier is being touted as this year's Amelie - so why are many in the deaf community outraged by it?". The Independent. Retrieved 24 January 2021.
  10. ^ Atkinson, Rebecca (19 December 2014). "La Famille Bélier is yet another cinematic insult to the deaf community". The Guardian.
  11. ^ "Les " Magritte du Cinéma ", c'est le 6 février prochain à 20h00". Cinergie.
  12. ^ Baronnet, Brigitte (17 November 2014). "Festival du film de Sarlat : The Search et La Famille Bêlier au palmarès 2014". AlloCiné (in French). Retrieved 19 November 2014.
  13. ^ Wiseman, Andreas (May 13, 2019). "Pathé & Vendôme Sign Pact; First Pic 'Coda' Will Be Sold By Pathé, Philippe Rousselet & Patrick Wachsberger On Croisette — Cannes". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved January 24, 2021.
  14. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony (January 30, 2021). "Apple Lands 'CODA' For $25M+ Record Setting WW Deal; First Major Virtual 2021 Sundance Film Festival Sale". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved January 30, 2021.
  15. ^ a b Paulson, Michael (March 23, 2022). "'CODA' Is Being Developed Into a Stage Musical by Deaf West". The New York Times. Retrieved March 24, 2022.
  16. ^ Gelt, Jessica (March 27, 2022). "What's next for 'CODA'? What we know about the stage musical in the works". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved March 29, 2022.

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