Life Is a Long Quiet River

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Life Is a Long Quiet River
Directed by Étienne Chatiliez
Produced by
Written by
  • Étienne Chatiliez
  • Florence Quentin
Music by Gérard Kawczynski
Cinematography Pascal Lebègue
Edited by Chantal Delattre
Distributed by
  • Ascot Video
  • MK2 Diffusion (USA/France)
Release dates
  • 3 February 1988 (1988-02-03)
Running time
90 minutes
Country France
Language French
Box office $30,660,067[1]

Life Is a Long Quiet River (French: La vie est un long fleuve tranquille) is a French comedy by Étienne Chatiliez of 1988.


In a maternity clinic two children from families with completely different social backgrounds are switched at birth. One goes on to live in an upper-middle-class family while the other to a poor family. Twelve years later, the mistake is discovered and the child living with the poor family is taken back by his parents, but keeps in touch with his former family and makes them encounter his new brothers and sisters. A series of satirical and comedic scenes follow.

Cult Status[edit]

Due in part to the film's being shown on French television rather often, it has gained a sort of cult following among young French people. The song 'Jésus Reviens' sung at church in the film is instantly recognisable to many French youth as a key example of the film's many satirical digs at the French Catholic bourgeois culture in the era it was filmed.

The 2009 film Neuilly sa mère ! was heavily influenced by Life is a Long Quiet River.[2][3][4]



The film received 7 nominations at the César Awards :

Award Category Recipient Result
César Award César Award for Best Supporting Actress Hélène Vincent Won
César Award for Most Promising Actress Catherine Jacob Won
César Award for Best Debut Étienne Chatiliez Won
César Award for Best Writing Étienne Chatiliez
Florence Quentin
César Award for Best Film Étienne Chatiliez Nominated
César Award for Best Supporting Actor Patrick Bouchitey Nominated
César Award for Best Costume Design Elisabeth Tavernier Nominated


  1. ^
  2. ^ ""Neuilly sa mère": Dans la misère des banlieues riches (Neuilly sa mère: in the misery of rich suburbs)". Le Monde. 2009-08-11. 
  3. ^ Aubron, Arnaud (2009-08-12). "" Neuilly sa mère " : le cinéma est un long fleuve tranquille (Neuilly sa mère: cinema is a long quiet river)". Rue 89. Retrieved 2010-09-24. 
  4. ^ "" Neuilly sa mère  ! ", un Groseille chez Sarko". Libération. 2009-08-13. Retrieved 2010-09-24.  hair space character in |title= at position 18 (help); |first1= missing |last1= in Authors list (help)

External links[edit]