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A Christmas Tale

A Christmas Tale

A Feature film by Arnaud Desplechin

Produced by Why Not Productions

Release in France : 21/05/2008

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Actors (21)

Production and distribution (4)

Executive Producer :

Why Not Productions

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Wild Bunch

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Box office: Timeline

International releases (29)

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In the beginning, Abel and Junon had two children, Joseph and Elizabeth. Suffering from a rare, genetic illness, little Joseph had to receive a bone-marrow transplant. As Elizabeth wasn’t compatible, her parents conceived a third child in the hope of saving Joseph. But Henri, who was soon to be born, was also no help to his brother – and Joseph died when he was seven years old. After the birth of their fourth child, Ivan, the Vuillard family quietly recovered from the death of their first-born. Years have since passed by. Elizabeth has become a playwright in Paris. Henri is entangled in all sorts of dubious business affairs and fraudulent bankruptcies, while Ivan, once a teenager tottering on the edge, has become an almost rational father of two peculiar boys. One fatal day, Elizabeth, infuriated by her black-sheep brother’s excesses, formally “banishes” Henri. No one now knows exactly what happened, or why. Henri has disappeared, and the family now seems to have disintegrated. Only Simon, Junon’s nephew, taken in by his aunt after his parents’ deaths, maintains, albeit with some difficulty, the semblance of a bond between the parents living in the provinces, the virtuous sister, the uncertain brother and their execrated sibling. A Christmas Tale begins with the return of the illness that killed Joseph: Junon learns that she is suffering from a form of leukaemia that no chemotherapy can cure. She must now find a potential bone-marrow donor among the members of her family. Children and grandchildren each undergo medical tests. Paul, Elizabeth’s tormented teenage son and the oldest of Junon’s grandchildren, is overcome with anxiety. Christmas approaches. All the family comes together for three days in the large family home in Roubaix, in northern France. Invited by Paul, even Henri accepts the invitation and arrives accompanied by his latest conquest, Faunia. Claude, Elizabeth’s husband, will join everyone later. It could be a time for a settling of old scores, and yet, after an initial bristly patch, things settle down. People fall under each other’s spell. Sylvia, Ivan’s wife, discovers that Simon has been in love with her for years. She wonders whether she has truly lived her life or only experienced a pale illusion of it. Will Junon accept a dangerous transplant to treat an illness that may never develop? Will Paul’s father accept that his son gives his bone marrow to his grandmother, thereby risking carrying the responsibility for her death? As for Elizabeth and Henri, what can be done about an argument that stopped making sense a long time ago?



A Christmas Tale

Trailer English Subs

Photos (6)

Full credits (16)

Executive Producer :

Pascal Caucheteux

Line producer :

Martine Cassinelli

Director of Photography :

Éric Gautier

Production managers :

Benoît Pilot, Isabelle Tillou

Editor :

Laurence Briaud

Production Designer :

Dan Bevan

Casting :

Stéphane Touitou

Sound Mixer :

Jean-Pierre Laforce

Assistant director :

Gabrièle Roux

Screenwriters :

Arnaud Desplechin, Emmanuel Bourdieu

Sound recordists :

Nicolas Cantin, Sylvain Malbrant

Press Attaché (film) :

Agnès Chabot

Continuity supervisor :

Agnès Feuvre

Music Composer :

Grégoire Hetzel

Costume designer :

Nathalie Raoul

Additional Music :

White & Spirit

Technical details

Feature film

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Original French-language productions :


Nationality :

100% French (France)

Production year :


French release :


Runtime :

2 h 23 min

Current status :


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Posters (8)


News (9)

Festival Selections (24)

French Film Tour in Mexico - 2009

French Film Tour in Mexico (Mexico, 2009)


Official Selection

Cesar Awards - French film industry awards - 2009

Cesar Awards - French film industry awards (France, 2009)

Selection (9)

Best Sound : Nicolas Cantin, Jean-Pierre Laforce, Sylvain Malbrant

Best Cinematography : Éric Gautier

Best Original Screenplay : Emmanuel Bourdieu, Arnaud Desplechin

Best Editing : Laurence Briaud

Best Director : Arnaud Desplechin

Best Supporting Actor : Jean-Paul Roussillon

Most Promising Actor : Laurent Capelluto

Best Film : Arnaud Desplechin

Best Supporting Actress : Anne Consigny

European Film Awards - 2008

European Film Awards (Germany, 2008)


Best European Film

Mostra - São Paulo International Film Festival - 2008

Mostra - São Paulo International Film Festival (Brazil, 2008)


Official International Selection

BFI London Film Festival - 2008

BFI London Film Festival (Great Britain, 2008)


Films selected

BIFF - 2008

BIFF (South Korea, 2008)


Films selected

TIFF - 2008

TIFF (Canada, 2008)


Special presentations

Cannes International Film Festival - 2008

Cannes International Film Festival (France, 2008)


Official Competition

Awards (2)

Cesar Awards - French film industry awards - 2009

Cesar Awards - French film industry awards (France, 2009)


César award for best supporting actor : Jean-Paul Roussillon

Cannes International Film Festival - 2008

Cannes International Film Festival (France, 2008)


61st Cannes Film Festival Prize : Catherine Deneuve

Delegations (7)

Presskit (2)