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"Soleil" is a love story. In 1940, a poor, beautiful Jewish mother lives between the bounds of hope and everyday uncertainty. She has the unquenchable pride of that race of women who no longer exist. Mother Titine has five immoderate, unpredictable children: three girls and two boys. Poverty has no hold on their love of life under the blue Mediterranean sky, buzzing with laughter and passion.. But the mother has a favorite child. Meyer is the king. He is 13 years old, handsome, intelligent, brave, sensitive, irresistible. Father was trapped in France by the German invasion. "The exile", as they call him, regularly sends half of his minor civil servant's salary to Algiers, where the family struggles along, pinning their hopes on an Allied victory.
Today, Meyer Levy has become Professor Levy, famous in France and around the world as one of the top heart surgeons. His social ascent and integration are flawless. He lives far from the lowly Casbah where he spent his youth dreaming, crying, quarreling, and loving. One happy evening, during his birthday party, he collapses with a heart attack. His whole life boomerangs back at him, charged with the naked truth.
"Soleil" is a journey into the heart of an exceptional and therefore normal mother. But since everything I touch necessarily becomes comical and passionate, I wanted "Soleil" to avoid all the pitfalls of self-indulgence so that children, whether they were born in Rome, Algiers, Nice, or Rio de Janeiro, could be able to understand this mad love between a mother and a son. "Soleil" must leave the audience with the memory of a moment of happiness and emotion. I paid particular attention to this contrasting harmony. But above all, I wanted to paint the portrait of a mother whom all the children in the world can dream about. "Soleil" openly tackles suffering, injustice, and the humiliation of poverty. It says that love can withstand and transcend everything through the power and elegance of laughter. That's why I wanted the following words to appears over the final shot of the film: "To all children lucky enough to have been loved and to all those who have never known that joy." (Roger Hanin)